Where are Chatham County schools in the final NCHSAA 2021-25 realignment plan?

By Gene Galin

Chapel Hill, NC – The North Carolina High School Athletic Association released a final draft of its high school sports realignment plan on Feb. 17 for the upcoming 2021 through 2025 school years.

According to the final draft, in the 3A realignment Northwood will move into Conference 25. This conference will include familiar rivals Cedar Ridge and Orange. Other conference members will be Eastern Alamance, Person, Western Alamance and Williams.

In the 1A & 2A realignment, Chatham Charter and Woods Charter will be part of Conference 13, along with Clover Garden, River Mill, Southern Wake Academy and Triangle Math and Science.

It appears that Conference 14 will include Chatham Central (1A) along with Jordan-Matthews (2A) and the newest Chatham County high school, Seaforth (2A). Other schools in the conference are North More, Bartlett Yancey, Cummings and Graham.

“Even though there will still be those who are unhappy, the committee is to be commended for its work in trying to address every request and concern while ensuring that each member school has a ‘home;’ conference that can provide fair and equitable athletic opportunities for all North Carolina students,” NCHSAA Commissioner Que Tucker said in an email to athletic directors.

Realignment of schools into conferences is done every four years, according to NCHSAA bylaws. This realignment is for the period 2021-2025.

The process for dividing the schools in classifications for 2021-2025:

a. Using the East/West Map, all member schools are listed either in the east or the west based on the county where the school is located.

b. Schools are divided in the east or the west by the appropriate percentage–25% of the schools in 4-A, 25% in 3-A, 25% in 2-A and 25% in 1-A–to make the four classifications. If the divided number is a fraction, half or more is rounded up.

c. The lines are drawn from the top down for schools in the east and then for schools in the west, so the process starts with the largest school and works down to the dividing line, then the next class, etc. If the dividing line comes between two schools with the exact same Realignment Score, those schools will all be placed in the higher classification.

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Split conferences are created if necessary, and in an effort to avoid hardships such as geography, travel, etc.

The NCHSAA Board of Directors reserves the right to place a school up or down in classification in cases where the Realignment Committee believes there is an extreme geographic hardship and there is no negative affect on other schools.

The fourth draft will be sent to the NCHSAA Board of Directors for review, and following final appeals from schools who may contend potential errors in procedure made by the Realignment Committee.

The Board of Directors is scheduled to approve a final realignment plan during its meeting sometime in the month of March.

In August of the 2021-2-22 academic year, the new alignment begins with schools in those classifications and conferences.