It’s time for a dose of realignment reality for the more than 1,300 public schools in Texas.

All the speculation and rumors that have made their way to just about every corner of the state in recent weeks will be put to rest Friday when the University Interscholastic League (UIL) announces its biennial realignment. The state’s governing body for extracurricular activities is scheduled to make the announcement at 9 a.m.

That’s when schools will learn their classification and district alignments for the 2008-09, 2009-10 school years.

The UIL realigns every two years with the intent of leveling the playing field enrollment-wise based on Average Daily Membership (ADM) submitted in late October. Once the numbers are received, the UIL attempts to keep the enrollment ratio in each classification as close to 2.0 as possible.

The 2.0 ratio means the ADM for a school at the top of a classification will not be more than twice that of the school at the bottom. It doesn’t always work out that way, especially in the lower classifications — 3A, in particular.

Three Henderson County area schools — Athens, Cross Roads and Mabank — dropped in classification when the current realignment period was announced in February 2006. Athens and Mabank fell to 3A and Cross Roads became an A school.

Athens, which missed staying in 4A by three students, and Cross Roads will likely stay put this time, but Mabank could be in for a move in the other direction. With an ADM of 984 and the bottom number in 4A expected to rise from its current 950, Mabank is considered on the bubble.

Eustace is also a bubble school. With an ADM of 432, Eustace could be in for a change of address to 2A.

The top number in 2A is currently 414, but is expected to increase with more than 20 new schools coming online in the upper classifications — traditionally causing an upward shift in the bottom numbers in each of the top five classifications.

“We’re not sure what’s going to happen,” Eustace athletic director/head football coach Doug Wendel said. “But it’s like we keep telling our kids, no matter what, our expectations are not going to change.

“We are still going to strive to be the best we can be, improve every day in what we do and go to the playoffs.”

But Wendel said a drop in classification would benefit the school’s overall athletic program.

“More than anything else, if we do drop it would give a chance to develop all our programs, not just football,” Wendel said. “But we’re going to be prepared to play and be the best we can be no matter where they put us.”

Here are the ADMs reported by HC area schools: Athens, 910; Brownsboro, 822; Cross Roads, 183.5; Eustace, 432; Kemp, 490; LaPoynor, 146; Mabank, 984; Malakoff, 333; and Trinidad, 76.

The cut-off enrollment figures used for the current realignment period were: 5A —1,985 and above, 4A — 950-1,984, 3A — 415-949, 2A — 195-414, A — 194 and below. Schools with an ADM of 99.5 and below had the option of competing in six-man.

Though Mabank and Eustace are the only two schools sweating out classification changes, the others will likely see their districts undergo changes. That uncertainty in itself can make for anxious moments when it comes to putting together a non-district football schedule prior to the realignment announcement.

Athens head football coach Jim Wommack said he was enjoying not having to be anxious as to which classification the school would be placed. At 910, Athens will stay in 3A, barring a realignment of unprecedented changes.

“We’ve got a good number and have our program in good shape,” Wommack said. “The only question is what district we’ll be placed, which does cause some questions when it comes to scheduling non-district games.”

But like the speculation and rumors, the sweating and uncertainty is almost over. The moment of truth is at hand.



The Athens Daily Review will post realignment information on its Web site as it becomes available via the Associated Press at 9 a.m.

Check it out and avoid the congestion of other sites at www.athensreview.com.

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