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MSHSAA official explains new class system

Langston Newsome
Columbia Daily Tribune
The Examiner

The Missouri State High School Activities Association recently announced major changes to the classifications of 10 sports heading into the 2020-21 school year.

Baseball, basketball, golf, softball, tennis and volleyball are among the sports that will experience an increase of one or more classifications this school year. Girls golf will see the biggest increase, jumping from two classes in 2019 to four classes this fall.

The changes stem from a previous vote of member schools.

According to Jason West, MSHSAA communications director, the board worked throughout the 2019-20 school year to implement these new guidelines for fall 2020.

The school reclassifications are expected to be announced Aug. 21, a week before contests are scheduled to begin Aug. 28. It remains unclear what impact the changes will have on schools in Columbia and across Boone County.

“The additional classifications came about due to the new classification system that the membership voted on two years ago and will be implemented this fall,” West told the Tribune on Wednesday. “That by-law change means that instead of using equal enrollment breaks or a specific number of schools in each class, what will happen is the largest school in that class cannot be double the size of the smallest school.”

The new ruling establishes that a certain number of schools will remain classified as Class 1 and the remaining classes will be filled based on enrollment differentials.

The ruling increases basketball (boys and girls) and baseball from five classes to six. Boys golf, fall softball and volleyball will increase from four classes to five. Tennis (boys and girls) will increase from two classes to three, while spring softball will go from one class to two next year.

These changes will also bring along differences in state tournaments for a variety of sports.

Golf, for example, will no longer be using sectionals to determine state qualifiers. Teams and individual golfers will advance to state from district tournaments this coming school year.

Tennis will divide its state tournaments into two weekends instead of all in one.