CHSAA looking into new school-classification model

By: Phil Stafford Email
By: Phil Stafford Email

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO)-- The model for classifying schools throughout the state for high school athletics has always been determined by a school's enrollment numbers. As soon as 2015, however, that could all change.

In a KKCO 11 Sports exclusive, Mike Krueger, the Athletics Director for Palisade High School, said that the Colorado High School Activities Assoc. (CHSAA) is currently investigating new models to classify schools. "The current system of using enrollment numbers throughout the state isn't working," Krueger stated.

Randy Powell, the Athletics Director for Central High School, seconded Krueger's notion by stating that the current classification system doesn't equally balance the athletic abilities of high school students throughout the state. "Although we have 1,700 students, we may not have the same number of athletes as Cherry Creek [High School] or some of the big schools on the Front Range, who have twice the number of students and nearly twice the number of athletes," Powell said.

Of course what Powell is referring to is the percentage of participation each school has for athletics. Currently, every school in the state is designated to a particular class - Class 5A, Class 4A, etc. - on the basis of the number of students enrolled at the school. However, that doesn't mean that "School A" in 5A will have the same amount of kids participating in athletics as "School B", which is in 5A as well. Thus, "School B" could have a better pool of participating athletes to pick from, therein giving that school a competitive advantage.

Additionally, "School B" may have more athletes participating because their students have had more opportunities throughout their youth to partake in club sports or extra-curricular athletics. This may be due to a better economic environment, or pure availability to club sports. Either way, there are many imbalances between "School A" and "School B" - whether they are 300 miles apart or even 10 miles apart - which has raised concern among high school athletics directors across the state.

"We want to look at how we can make things more equitable in terms of leveling those competitive imbalances, making sure that the playing field is level for kids playing at the high school level," Krueger said. Krueger has been assigned as the Western Slope representative of 15-person committee delegated to finding a new model to classify schools.

Although the committee met for the first time in February of this year, Krueger said the hope is to have a new classification model in place for the 2015 school year.

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