FHSAA Creates Small School Rural Division: Jay In, Northview May Be Out

June 16, 2010


The Florida High School Athletic Association has approved a new rural school classification for schools like Jay High, but Northview may not be included.

Schools in the rural division would compete within their own division and have their own playoff series for boys and girls basketball, baseball, football, softball and girls volleyball, and boys and girls soccer.

“I’m very ecstatic,” said Jay Athletic Director Elijah Bell.   “We’ve been working on this a long time in the pursuit of equality for small, rural schools.” Bell served on the FHSAA Urban/Rural Committee that drafted the proposal approved Tuesday.

An invitation to participate in the new rural classification will be extended to the 32 smallest schools that would be eligible — which would include Jay at number 13  but not Northview at number 39 by enrollment.

The FHSAA will next meet with the 32 small schools to determine which might choose to join the new “Division II” league. If any choose not to join, the next-smallest schools will be offered a slot to ensure the league has 32 teams as required for a state series.  There are six school in line ahead of Northview that would have the option of joining the rural division.

“I hope we get in,” Northview Athletic Director Sammy Day said after learning the proposal passed the FHSAA board. If Northview does not make the division, it will create great hardship for the school, Day said.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that Northview is rural,” Bell said, “as are other schools like Bozeman, Chipley and Perry. But we had to draw the line somewhere on the district, and  that was the 32 (needed for a playoff series).”

Most of Northview’s past district opponents will be offered membership in the division — Jay, Sneads, Baker, Vernon, Holmes and Freeport. If they all become rural division schools and Northview does not, it will mean a lot of travel time for the Chiefs to play district teams.

“We may have a tough time unless we play much bigger schools,” Day said, adding the Chiefs would likely end up with schools like Catholic, Walton and Chipley on the schedule.

But Day is not giving up hope that Northview will make the 32-team rural Division II. Most of the schools on the list are in the Panhandle, while some are located much further south in Florida. Due to the travel time for those schools past Tallahassee, Day said he does not believe they will join the rural district. And some of those schools — like Peniel Baptist Academy just 44 total students — may not join the district.

“We will just have to wait and see,” he said.

Bell agreed that some of the schools on the small-32 list might not join the district. He cited Marathon High in Key West as an example. “It would be 200 miles on way for them to play a district game,” he said. “But we are still going to invite them to join.”

The FHSAA Division II for rural schools will be a pilot program for the 2011-2012 and 2012-2013 seasons. The final list of 32 eligible schools will be based upon fall 2010 enrollment, Bell said.

Those numbers could make a difference for Northview. According to Day, Northview had an enrollment of 560 in the fall of last year, but that number was down to 525 by the end of hte year.

“We had to draw a line somewhere,” Bell said the list of 32 small schools. He said he had hoped to see a small and larger division in the rural district, but that was not possible this year.

“I certainly hope we can do the small and large in the near future, he said.”It’s not over; we still have work to do.”

For now, Bell said he is happy to see the Rural Division become a reality; he’s been advocating such a plan since about 1990.

Pictured top: Brandon Sheets tries to avoid Jay defender Chris Carrigan during last year’s meeting of two rural schools. NorthEscambia.com file photo, click to enlarge.


28 Responses to “FHSAA Creates Small School Rural Division: Jay In, Northview May Be Out”

  1. John on August 3rd, 2011 10:33 pm

    Jay and Northview might not like the district they are in now, when they see the teams in their district. Chipley with Alex Hamilton and Holmes County with the top prospect of 2013 Chris walker. They were one game from going to the state last year. They destroyed Freeport 79-53 in the playoffs.

  2. Jason on July 7th, 2010 6:41 pm

    Northview would have to play “much bigger schools” like catholic,chipley and walton. thats funny. bigger schools would be pine forest,phs,pace ect ect. when i went to nhs we always played catholic chipley and walton and they were always in our district.

  3. Shaun on June 17th, 2010 9:46 pm

    >THE REALLY INTERESTING PART is that you posted this comment while at work at the Pensacola News Journal, per your IP address. So if you are going to accuse us of stealing a story, you might want to get your facts

    Thats Hillarious maybe they pay workers to monitor your site during the day LOL .. too funny. I love it

  4. Wondering on June 17th, 2010 8:19 am

    Just for clarification, 32 is the minimum number of schools set by FHSAA for a division. There can be more than 32 ,so there could be more schools involved. If it happens it will be great for schools financially .

  5. William on June 17th, 2010 7:00 am

    >Is this for the upcoming 2010/2011 school year?

    “The FHSAA Division II for rural schools will be a pilot program for the 2011-2012 and 2012-2013 seasons. “

  6. nhs on June 17th, 2010 6:07 am

    Is this for the upcoming 2010/2011 school year?

  7. royals on June 16th, 2010 11:14 pm

    it takes just 11 kids on Off and 11 on Def but for some schools its mostly the same kids playing both ways.When U dont have over 500 kids to pick from. Central doesnt have a football team so not sure how it will effect them in the other sports.

  8. parent of two on June 16th, 2010 10:40 pm

    550 or 210 it only takes 11 kids on d and o! Still sounds like you are bitter. Northview does not pick their classifications FHSAA does.

  9. traci on June 16th, 2010 9:34 pm

    we won in 1980 way not now. we teach our kids it’s o.k. to loss just play fair

  10. Bamafan on June 16th, 2010 8:09 pm

    Lol…go William!!!

  11. Escambia Resident on June 16th, 2010 6:01 pm

    OMG! That was so funny! Go William! You ate the daily fish wrapper for lunch in your comment.

  12. William on June 16th, 2010 5:23 pm

    > This looks an awful lot like the story that PNJ ran two days ago. Just sayin’

    Interesting observation, especially since the story the PNJ ran two days ago looked an awful lot like the story NorthEscambia.com ran the first part of May.

    We’ve been covered the possible rural classification since the spring of 2009 and have ran numerous stories since that time. AFAIK, the daily paper has not covered the issue since we first reported it over a year ago.

    This story was based upon the FHSAA actions that were taken on Tuesday, so it can’t look too much like the story the daily paper ran Sunday.

    THE REALLY INTERESTING PART is that you posted this comment while at work at the Pensacola News Journal, per your IP address. So if you are going to accuse us of stealing a story, you might want to get your facts straight.

    Regardless of your comment, we do appreciate the hundreds of times each day employees at the Pensacola News Journal take the time out of their work day to read NorthEscambia.com.

  13. Jay21277 on June 16th, 2010 5:14 pm

    This looks an awful lot like the story that PNJ ran two days ago. Just sayin’

  14. Annoymous on June 16th, 2010 3:29 pm

    Is Central supposed to get a invtiation?

  15. royals on June 16th, 2010 2:31 pm

    i so agree with U uh huh .And i dont understand where the Mississippi schools came into this at =) where did U read that at?

  16. uh huh on June 16th, 2010 2:00 pm

    to parent of two, where in my response does it sound like my kid didn’t get what he wanted. i don’t even have kids. i understand how all this works and i can see that northview don’t want to have to play on an even playing field. i mean northview has 550 kids and they want to play schools that have 100 or 200.

  17. ME on June 16th, 2010 12:56 pm

    I agree make alabam students attend alabama schools. I moved from atmore to here so that my kids could go to school honestly and when my kids are finished I will move back to alabama because it is cheapier cost of living taxes,tags,insurance etc. I will never understand why our school board allows these children to cross state lines. I know a lot of these kids are good kids and the atmore school system is in need of these types of students. If that happened our numbers would be greatly reduced.if you like our schools move here just as I did for my kids to have a better education

  18. Bratt Mom on June 16th, 2010 12:41 pm

    Let”s send the Atmore kids back to Alabama. I pay taxes they don”t.

  19. 24/7 on June 16th, 2010 12:33 pm

    To truly be the best, you must play the best. Where it be a public, private or what ever school. They can only put 11 on the field at one time… It seem like they are saying those other kids are better than ours, sure those private schools may have a great athlete or two, but it takes a whole team to win… Total team effort… Besides there are private and christian schools in the rural list… Are the schools now not classified by size (total stundent number)? i wish the schools all the luck no matter what class they play in.

  20. Jeff on June 16th, 2010 10:50 am

    I understand Robert’s remarks – I don’t know the solution but is it really fair to place schools with 550 students in the same division as schools with 200? That may seem fair to Northview but how about Vanguard, Glades, and Graceville.

  21. robert on June 16th, 2010 10:13 am

    Northwiew has had a overall winning record since it began in 1995. to uh huh take a good look at all of the factors this is not just about winning its about fairness public schools can not go out and recruit players like private schools. there are scholarships offered to play for private schools and many of these schools are expensive.

  22. parent of two on June 16th, 2010 10:09 am

    @uh huh you sound like you are bitter maybe because your child did not get what he wanted!!

  23. uh huh on June 16th, 2010 8:08 am

    This is just another way for Jay and Northview to play a cupcake schedule. If Northview was in Alabama they would be playing 5A and they probably wouldn’t win a game. Northview wants to have 600 hundred students and play teams with 100 students so they will have a chance to win. This is a joke.

  24. Escambia Resident on June 16th, 2010 7:32 am

    > Why would they include Mississippi teams and not Northview?

    Huh? Where doe it say they are including mississippi teams? This is the FLORIDA High School Athletics group.

  25. bratt man on June 16th, 2010 7:31 am

    Send the Atmorons packing, we want our kids to have a chance.

  26. royals on June 16th, 2010 6:19 am

    Good Job Coach Bell.

  27. Chief's Fan on June 16th, 2010 6:19 am

    Looks like it is time to send all the non tax paying Alabama students packing; this would get quickly get the numbers down to an acceptable figure, which would put Northview in the small school rural division.

  28. =) on June 16th, 2010 5:06 am

    Why would they include Mississippi teams and not Northview? And why only accept the minimum amount of teams? Sounds stupid.