GAINESVILLE, FL (WTXL) - The Florida High School Athletic Association is already gearing up for the return of high school athletics, and at their final meeting of the school year on June 9th, approved a plan that will add a ninth classification in baseball and softball for the upcoming season.
The plan adds that in 2016, boys and girls basketball, as well as volleyball, will also add a ninth classification. The highest two-thirds of the population will be divided between Class 5A and Class 9A, while the remaining third will be split between Class 1A and Class 4A. Class 1A will remain the rural division.
The goal is to make things more competitive, and while administrators don't think schools in Leon County will be affected, they do think it affects the integrity of a State Championship.
"I do understand the FHSAA's thinking," said Leon County Athletic Director Ricky Bell. "They want to reward more schools and give more opportunities to win State Championships, but somewhere along the line, you have to say hey, this is the classification, this is the teams you're going to play and compete against, and these are the teams you have to beat."
"Classification issues have always come up," added Leon High School Athletic Director Mark Feely. "There are always some folks that aren't happy with where they land, but for the most part it's always been an issue that the FHSAA has tried to tinker with and improve on. Whether they are or not remains to be seen, but it is something that's been kind of a hot topic."
In addition, the FHSAA put in a policy that every student athlete must now view a free online safety course about concussion safety. Coaches must view a course dealing with sudden cardiac arrests. Bell said that Leon County has been ahead of the curve when it comes to concussion safety, as they were one of the first districts to issue to Impact testing to determine whether or not students were healthy enough to return to the field.