NMAA has plans to reduce Class divisions from six to five during directors meeting on Feb. 15
Consensus of state athletic directors are for the change
By ARNIE LESHIN
The days of Class 6A division in New Mexico high school athletics could be winding down, in fact over soon.
According to the New Mexico Activities Association, this has been discussed and planned for the past year and a half. Its board of directors are likely to vote on a plan Feb. 15 that would send the state back to a five-class system starting with the 2018-19 school year.
"Are we doing it the best we can," said NMAA executive director Sally Marquez, "Or are there other ways out there we can do it?"
This vote could be the precursor to a radical change in the way the state aligns its member schools.
It's reported the NMAA is looking at a new model -- a so-called "conference" model – that could have two classifications of schools together in a single conference.
Said Marquez: "What the alignment and classification committee and the athletics directors are looking for something to help with cost and keep kids in school by having less travel."
She added that the state's spacious southeastern region was not the only region where a conference system might make sense.
"There are lots of pockets," Marquez said. "that the NMAA wanted to look outside the box at."
As athletic directors need to begin scheduling for the 2018-19 school year by the end of this coming calendar year, it will be necessary for the NMAA to have a model in place by the fall.
Prior to the 2014-15 season, the state added a Class 6A although New Mexico's six-class system has been in place longer than that, going back to the 2010-11 school year when Class B volleyball and basketball began naming state champions in Class B.
Marquez said that the consensus from the Ads is that they'd like to go back to five classes.
Football, though, might be an exception to any future five-class models. Presently it features seven classes: 2A to 6A and six and eight-man divisions.
Except for football, the only sports that currently crown as many as six state champions are basketball, volleyball and track and field.
In sports like cross country and baseball, Classes 1A and 2A are combined into one entity. Soccer, wrestling, tennis and golf combine Classes 1A-4A into a single post-season event. Softball, meanwhile, combines 1A through 3A.