The Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association Classification Committee met Nov. 1 to name new classification groupings for public high schools throughout the state and recommend region alignments for 2013-15 academic years.
Final decisions regarding those proposals will be made in December at the MPSSAA Board of Control meeting, according to the organization's website.
Three Prince George's County schools were affected by this year's reclassification. Friendly and Potomac are scheduled to move down on classification to 2A and Central dropped to 1A.
MPSSAA Executive Director Ned Sparks said while the classification rulings are cut and dry — schools' enrollment numbers statewide are added up and divided into quarters — much thought goes into region alignment.
“We try to cluster the schools as best we can numerically, geographically and also take into consideration who their competition is in the regular season. It's pretty easy to do a region in an area that is self-contained, but some regions have schools that are 160 miles apart,” Sparks said.
Prince George's has historically competed in the South Regions, but according to the proposed region realignment, the county's 1A schools — Fairmont Heights, Forestville Military Academy, Surrattsville and Central — will compete in the North Region in 2013-15.
Prince George's County Public Schools Athletic Director Earl Hawkins said county teams should not be affected by the switch in region.
In the current 1A South, county schools competed against Baltimore schools. In the newly recommended region, the four county schools are grouped with schools from Baltimore and Anne Arundel counties.
A new proposal to divide each region into two sections will alleviate some travel issues, Sparks added.
Each section will have two seeds and the winner of each group will play in the region championship.
According to the proposed sections, the county's four 1A schools will be paired with Anne Arundel's Chesapeake Science Point Public Charter, Baltimore's Friendship Academy of Engineering and Technology and Friendship Academy of Science and Technology.
“In this case there was no choice because there are so many Baltimore schools and so few PG schools and we have to go somewhere. We were playing schools in Baltimore before anyway. Both regions are really in the North, anyway, so it's not a big deal,” Hawkins said.
The reclassifications won't affect county division breakdowns or traditional rivalries. Hawkins said the county will continue to be divided into two division, the Prince George's 4A and 3A/2A/1A.
The winner of each division will compete in a county championship game.
“For the number of teams we have, it makes scheduling easier and we come up with a county champion. It gives teams an opportunity to compete against schools of similar size for a league championship,” Hawkins said.
The new classification and region groupings, however, decrease the number of possibilities for state champions, Hawkins said, because more county teams will be lumped together in three of the regions. Crossland is the only county school remaining in Class 3A.
“Now we're going to be competing against each other a lot [for state titles]. [In football] we will have more teams competing for those top four spots. Our schools could end up eliminating other county schools,” Hawkins said. “There are not as many 3A schools, but we will still have all the rivalries because teams will still play the league schedule.”