SCHSL votes to change to five-class system in 2016

cffoot-sjThe South Carolina High School League voted to move to a five-classification system in the 2016-17 academic year, replacing a four-class format that has been in place for nearly a half-century.

The addition of another tier will have a big impact on prep sports across the state, but how the new reclassification system will affect local schools remains uncertain. The SCHSL will hold future meetings to finalize regions.

Carolina Forest is in the greatest danger of losing local region rivals. According to recent enrollment figures, Carolina Forest would be the only school to qualify for Class 5A, likely putting the Panthers in a region with schools in the Charleston area.

The increased travel cost and lost revenue at the gate could prove costly for Carolina Forest, which currently competes in Region 6-4A along with Socastee and Conway. Those two schools would likely remain in Class 4A, while Region 7-3A members St. James, Myrtle Beach and North Myrtle Beach would probably remain in Class 3A. The other teams in their regions could change radically.

The SCHSL voted against going to a six-class system and could still tweak the new five-class format to accommodate travel issues. Some schools can opt to play up in class to avoid travel concerns. The plan will not be finalized until this summer and will not go into effect until the fall of 2016.

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