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MHSAA Class System

MHSAA looking at 6-class system

By Myra Bean

A proposal to take the Mississippi High School Activities Association (MHSAA) to a six-class format was put to a vote by the 15-member board Tuesday. When the board meeting broke up, a decision was still not made.

MHSAA Executive Director Ennis Proctor gave the board until noon yesterday to get him each individual’s vote on the matter, according to South Panola School Superintendent Dr. Keith Shaffer.

At press time Thursday afternoon Shaffer had not received official word of the  board’s decision, but said he expected the change to take place.

Word had leaked out Wednesday that the six-class system was approved and the categories will be released in late October.

Shaffer said other proposals on the table were to leave the system as it was for the 262 schools under the MHSAA umbrella or expand 5A to take the load off 1A, 2A, 3A and 4A categories.

Under 5A are 32 teams, while 2A, 3A and 4A have 57 each and 1A has 59. Many 1A schools do not participate in sports activities.

According to Shaffer, the move to take on a 6A classification has repercussions when it comes to state championships. But it also has advantages.

In football playoffs, the 2A, 3A and 4A schools start playoffs a week earlier than 5A and 1A and play an extra playoff game. With all classifications having 32 teams, playoff times and games would be equal.

In basketball, the state tournament already lasts two weeks. The MHSAA may have to look at expanding or cutting back on the number of teams to play in the state tournament.

Schools in 5A including South Panola would become 6A schools and North Panola would likely remain a 3A school. In Lafayette County, Oxford would go to 5A while Lafayette County would stay 4A.

Classifications are based on the number of students enrolled.