NCHSAA still pondering final decision on Eastern Regional basketball site


Earl Vaughn - The Fayetteville Observer



FAYETTEVILLE — The N.C. High School Athletic Association Region 4 meeting was held Monday at Cumberland County’s Educational Resource Center.

The biggest news was that no decision has been reached on where to play the 2016 Eastern Regional basketball tournament, which Fayetteville has hosted for the last few years.

UNC-Greensboro and Winston-Salem’s Joel Coliseum are set as Western sites, but the NCHSAA is considering locations other than Fayetteville in the east, though Fayetteville is in the mix.

Campbell University has made a bid to host and NCHSAA officials also looked at Fayetteville State’s Capel Arena.

Que Tucker, interim commissioner of the NCHSAA, said when the series of regional meetings ends this week, association officials will return to Chapel Hill and focus on making a final decision on the regional site as soon as possible.

One thing that has been decided is the semifinal games that used to be part of the regional will be moved to the home gym of the highest seeded remaining team in each classification. If the NCHSAA determines that gym is too small to host a regional semifinal, the games will be moved into a facility as close to the top seed’s gym as possible that can handle the crowd.

In other news at the regional meeting, Tucker announced the timeline for the next realignment of schools in conferences and explained the 20-30-30-20 plan that will be used. When the NCHSAA gets school enrollment figures from the Department of Public Instruction in early November, it will first remove the 25 1-A and two 2-A schools from the list that don’t play football. Then it will break the remaining schools apart into classes, the top 20 percent in 4-A, the next 30 in 3-A, another 30 in 2-A and the bottom 20 in 1-A.

Numbers then will be sent to a computer software company in Cary which will generate conferences based on parameters set by the NCHSAA. This plan will include no split conferences, which the NCHSAA said will have to be used in the next realignment. Tucker said repeated studies of the state’s geography make it clear that going to five and six classes is not feasible because the state is so long east to west the travel would be prohibitive.

There will be two dates for appeals before the full board of the NCHSAA votes on the final plan in May of 2016. The new realignment goes into effect in the fall of 2017.

The Cape Fear region has three people on the realignment committee. Stan Williams of Harnett County is the Eastern chair of the committee. Representatives from Region 4 are David Culbreth of Pine Forest and Alan Faulk of Columbus County.

In other news, Tucker voiced concern for how some schools have used the eight-quarter rule in the early weeks of the football season. The rule was introduced to allow schools with lineup emergencies in football caused by injury to allow some junior varsity players to compete in games on Thursday and Friday. The rule was primarily designed to help the smallest schools with the fewest numbers on their football rosters.

Tucker showed statistics from the first week of the 2015 football season that only six 1-A schools took advantage of the rule. A total of 14 2-A schools used it, 20 in 3-A and 19 in 4-A. Although Tucker said she would not crusade to end the rule, she added she’s hopeful sharing this data will encourage schools to use it for what it’s actually intended and not as a way to reward players by promoting them to the varsity.

A number of awards were presented at the meeting. Six schools were honored for being ejection free in 2014-15. E.E. Smith was the only Cumberland County school recognized. Also honored were Fairmont, Lee County, RIchmond Senior, East Bladen and St. Pauls.

Two individual awards were presented. The Charlie Adams Distinguished Service Award went to South View principal Brian Edkins.

The Special Person Award went to Cumberland County Schools assistant superintendent Tim Kinlaw.

Scholastic sports editor Earl Vaughan Jr. can be reached at vaughane@fayobserver.com or 486-3519.

Earl Vaughn

The Fayetteville Observer

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