A proposed expansion of the state’s high school basketball ranks from four to five classes beginning next season gained final support without additional changes Monday from the Classification Committee of the Maine Principals’ Association.

The plan, which has been more than a year in the making, still faces two more votes en route to enactment.

The MPA’s Interscholastic Management Committee is scheduled to consider the plan Thursday as part of its consideration of the biennial reclassification of all the MPA’s sanctioned high school sports in the state.

If the proposal is approved by the IMC, it is subject to a final vote by the MPA’s general membership on April 30.

“Dealing with five classes of basketball, I think we’ve got it the best we can get it,” said Mount Desert Island High School activities director Bunky Dow, chairman of the MPA Classification Committee. “I’m sure there’s something we may have overlooked, but I’m pretty happy and we’re pretty confident it will go through.”

The panel did address feedback from three schools — Fort Fairfield, Houlton and Woodland — as well as concerns offered through a correspondence from the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference.


“Each time we discuss this issue, we find that our understanding of possible ramifications of adopting this proposal deepens, but we are still left with questions and concerns,” said the KVAC’s letter.

Gerry Durgin, the MPA’s liaison to the Classification Committee, said those concerns included the fact that with the single-division Class AA being proposed for the state’s largest schools — including KVAC members Bangor, Edward Little of Auburn, Lewiston and Oxford Hills of South Paris — there would be no regional championship competition in that class.

Another concern, Durgin said, involved the possible impact of the Heal point differential on scheduling.

“They just wanted us to slow down and see what else could be worked out to make it more favorable for them,” Dow said .

Dow estimated that committee members overall received about 15 telephone calls from schools throughout their consideration of the five-class proposal.

“It wasn’t about not wanting to go with five classes,” he said, “Eighty percent of them boiled down to being the smallest school in your division.”


Dow added that he was comfortable with the number of opportunities for feedback provided by the committee to member schools throughout the process.

“I think the point was made by several committee members that it isn’t like we haven’t welcomed everybody here to our meetings,” he said. “We’ve had very little correspondence with regards to anything negative toward this, so we decided to go with it as it is, and it will be voted on April 30th.”

Deering, Windham swap football regions

The Classification Committee did recommend one change to the final plan for football endorsed by the MPA’s Football Committee at its March 3 meeting.

Windham High School, which was placed in Western Maine Class A during that meeting in an effort to leave both Eastern and Western A with seven schools for the next two-year cycle, was switched back to Eastern A after making a formal request to remain in that region.

Deering High School of Portland subsequently agreed to be shifted from East to West to balance the divisions, according to Durgin.

Windham had been switched from East to West for the next two years by the football committee, which did not want to split up the three Portland schools — Cheverus, Deering and Portland.

But with two or three crossover contests for each school in Eastern and Western A anticipated for next season to fill out an eight- or nine-game regular-season schedule, all the Portland teams are almost certain to play each other under the updated plan.

Under the current Classification Committee proposal, the Eastern and Western Maine regional designations in each class for all sports would be changed to North and South beginning next fall.

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