Classification decision looms at annual ASAA meeting

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The high school football season ended in October, but it seems next year’s season has already begun.

Monday, the Alaska Schools Activities Association met for its annual board of directors meeting at the Lake Front Hotel.

“The big thing going on right now is looking at reclassification for football, basketball, volleyball and even hockey,” said Billy Strickland, ASAA's executive director.

Every three years Strickland says the group takes a look at the classifications, and football typically takes top priority, since scheduling of next year’s games hinges on it.

That’s not the only reason prep pigskin is attracting all the attention.

“Football is really one a lot of people feel we need to make a decision on this year with Juneau combining (with Thunder Mountain),” said Strickland at the meeting. “With North Pole High School opting up (into a larger classification) it just left a really small group at that Division II level.”

Six regional board members from across the state, plus representatives from both the Alaska Superintendents Association and the Association of Alaska School Boards made up the meeting.

Discussion included travel costs associated with different classification options, how many football divisions there could be, and whether changing divisions is even an option.

“A lot of these decisions impact the entire state, so the chance of getting a consensus on some of these issues is next to impossible,” said Strickland. “Classification, by its nature, you set some lines to be the largest school in their classification, and someone, unfortunately, has to be the smallest.”

The executive director says he doesn’t expect any determination to be made by Tuesday when the meeting ends-- it will likely be sent back to the classification committee on Jan. 22.

Before the final vote, Strickland says the state Coaches Association will have an opportunity make recommendations to ASAA.

Additionally on the agenda, the Sullivan Arena, Alaska Airlines Center, both in Anchorage, and Fairbanks' Carlson Center made bids to be next season's state basketball tournament site.

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