Eastern Alamance could be playing new conference rivals in 2021-22

Even with the COVID-19 pandemic gripping the state well into the fall months, the North Carolina High School Athletic Association is moving forward with its plan to re-align all of the conferences in the state in time for the 2021-22 academic year. For Eastern Alamance, this could mean considerable changes to the Mid-State Conference, which currently features longtime rivals such as Western Alamance and Rockingham, but also new foes in recent years such as Person County.  In the last batch of realignment prior to the 2017-18 school, the Eagles and their fellow Mid-State Conference rivals lost Eastern Guilford and Williams. The next realignment could result in other traditional conference rivalries being switched up for another four-year period. The aim of the quadrennial realignment is to ensure competitive balance across the state based on changing demographics, such as the growth of certain schools and stagnant growth at other schools, which may change their classification either up or down among the four NCHSAA classifications of 1A, 2A, 3A, and 4A. The Mid-State Conference is currently a 3A conference, and Eastern Alamance typically competes in the East Region of the various NCHSAA state playoffs. 

Even with the COVID-19 pandemic gripping the state well into the fall months, the North Carolina High School Athletic Association is moving forward with its plan to re-align all of the conferences in the state in time for the 2021-22 academic year. For Eastern Alamance, this could mean considerable changes to the Mid-State Conference, which currently features longtime rivals such as Western Alamance and Rockingham, but also new foes in recent years such as Person County.  

In the last batch of realignment prior to the 2017-18 school year, the Eagles and their fellow Mid-State Conference rivals lost Eastern Guilford and Williams. The next realignment could result in other traditional conference rivalries being switched up for another four-year period. The aim of the quadrennial realignment is to ensure competitive balance across the state based on changing demographics, such as the growth of certain schools and stagnant growth at other schools, which may change their classification either up or down among the four NCHSAA classifications of 1A, 2A, 3A, and 4A. The Mid-State Conference is currently a 3A conference, and Eastern Alamance typically competes in the East Region of the various NCHSAA state playoffs. 

Below is a timeline of the NCHSAA’s projected 2021-22 realignment process, along with Frequently Asked Questions about the process. 

October 2020

October 27, 2020—Realignment Committee Meeting by Zoom; review regional meeting information and discuss factors being considered for inclusion in the process

October 29, 2020—Realignment Committee votes on the final process for 21-25 Realignment Process to be sent to NCHSAA Board of Directors

November-December 2020

November 4, 2020—Board of Directors meets to review and discuss Realignment Process Proposal from Committee

November 13, 2020—Staff reviews final information for inclusion in the realignment process

November 17, 2020—Staff posts information for membership online

December 10, 2020—After review by the Realignment Committee, the First Draft of the Realignment Plan released to the membership

January 2021

January 8, 2021—Deadline for schools to submit concerns or adjustments desired to initial draft. The submission process will be clearly defined and include an online component. Any requests, concerns, or suggestions must be submitted in the appropriate designated fashion. This includes suggestions for conference affiliations or agreements among schools that have agreed to be in a conference together, etc.

January 13, 2021—Realignment Committee meets to review submissions from schools and makes adjustments as appropriate

January 14, 2021—Second draft distributed to schools for review

January 21, 2021—Deadline for schools to Appeal the second draft in writing, using the defined submission process, including concerns, suggestions/solutions. Appeal only if a school has been changed or affected by changes from the initial draft Due to Pandemic, all appeals to the committee will be virtual

January 27-28, 2021—Realignment Meetings by ZOOM are held, one for the East and one for the West. Appealing schools will have an opportunity to address the second draft:

Eastern Webinar on January 27 & Western Webinar on January 28

Details of the format will be shared closer to the dates

February 2021

February 3, 2021—Realignment Committee meets and considers making further adjustments to conferences

February 4, 2021—Committee issues the third draft

February 10, 2021 (If necessary)—Deadline for final appeals to Realignment Committee. Must be received in writing at NCHSAA by this date. For schools whose, conference membership has been altered in some way from previous drafts

February 17, 2021 (if necessary)—Final appeals to Realignment Committee. Realignment report then submitted to the Board of Directors

March-August 2021

March 2021—NCHSAA Board of Directors hears any final appeals based on procedural errors. (Exact date TBD) Board votes on 21-25 Realignment Plan

August 1, 2021—New 21-25 Alignment begins

What are the factors that will be included in the realignment process? 

Average Daily Membership (ADM) i. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this data was taken from 2019-2020 school year b. State Cup Points (3-Year Average) i. 2017-18, 2018-19, 2019-20 c. Identified Student Percentage (ISP) (3-Year Average) i. 2017-18, 2018-19, 2019-20 

What is the “State Cup”? 

The State Cup is a yearly NCHSAA award that recognizes the high schools that achieve the best overall interscholastic athletic performance within each of the state's four competitive classifications, primarily based on performance in postseason play. 

What does Identified Student Percentage (ISP) mean? What is it? 

This number is representative of the number of students in each school who are on some form of government assistance per USDA guidelines. 

Where does the ISP come from? 

This number is submitted by each school to the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction which confirms the data prior to sharing with the federal government. i. If a school does not submit that information to DPI, it will be requested of the oversight group/administration for that school. 

What will be done once you have each set of data? 

An ADM score, State Cup score, and ISP score will be determined and added together to create a Realignment Score 

What is the rationale for including an East/West division line? 

There are a several reasons for the use of the East/West line: i. The line divides the regions---East or West--in which a member school will participate for playoff purposes and may reduce travel during the playoffs ii. The line will maintain LEA boundaries, while dividing the state into East and West regions which should be relatively balanced. iii. Schools in east region will be ordered from the largest Realignment Score to the lowest Realignment Score to determine each classification. This means that a school’s classification is determined relative only to the other schools in their region instead of across the state. 

Will we use the 20/30/30/20 Model again? If no, what percentage model will be used for the four (4) classifications? 

No. For the 2021-2025 realignment period, each of the 4 classifications will reflect 25% of the total number of schools—in the east and in the west—requesting conference membership at the time of the 2020 (Winter) Board of Directors meeting.  

How will conferences be created initially? 

Once member schools have been divided into 4 separate classifications within their region (East and West), the NCHSAA staff will create the initial conference draft, with geography and classification as the guiding factors. The realignment committee will review the initial draft prior to it being sent to the membership.