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Arkansas Activities Association Releases New Classifications

By Matt Jones

This article was published April 29, 2011 at 12:24 p.m.

greenwood-quarterback-stephen-hogan-shakes-off-a-tackle-in-the-class-5a-state-championship-game-at-war-memorial-stadium-in-2010-the-bulldogs-which-have-won-four-state-football-titles-since-2005-will-move-to-class-6a

Greenwood quarterback Stephen Hogan shakes off a tackle in the Class 5A State Championship Game at War Memorial Stadium in 2010. The Bulldogs, which have won four state football titles since 2005, will move to Class 6A.

— The Arkansas Activities Association released new classifications for all sports at state high schools Friday. The bi-annual classification cycle will take effect in the fall of 2012.

Greenwood and Siloam Springs high schools, which have long teetered on the edge of moving into Class 6A, will now do so after spending the last several years in Class 5A. Jacksonville and Little Rock McClellan high schools will move down as a result to Class 5A.

Van Buren High School, which moved down a classification in the last two-year cycle, will return to Class 7A - the state's largest classification - despite an enrollment decrease in the newest numbers. Van Buren will replace Little Rock Hall High School, which will drop to Class 6A.

While the enrollment numbers are set in stone for the next two-year cycle, the future of Arkansas' largest classifications are anything but concrete. At least three proposals will be presented before AAA-member schools in August.

One proposal presented by Springdale Har-Ber High School would merge the state's two largest classifications into a 32-school Class 6A. Another proposal by Siloam Springs High School would leave the Class 7A at 16 schools, while Class 6A would expand to 32.

Yet another proposal would merge the state's two largest classifications in all sports but football.

In addition to the proposals, at least one private school, Springdale-based Shiloh Christian, is expected to petition to play up in classification in all sports. The Saints would be a member of Class 3A as part of the latest numbers, but could end up playing as high as Class 5A.

Shiloh Christian, which has won the last three Class 4A state championships in football, has been the target of several complaints and proposals in recent years, with similar-sized public schools citing an unfair advantage. The school's enrollment is 174, but private schools are subject to a multiplier of 1.75 percent when determining classifications.

Pulaski Academy, a private school in Little Rock, will return to Class 5A after spending the last two years in Class 4A. The Bruins were expected to petition to play up a classification prior to the release of the new numbers. The status of that petition is now unknown.

Other notable changes in the new classification cycle include Clarksville High School moving up to Class 5A, while Crossett and Arkadelphia high schools fell from Class 5A to Class 4A.

Bentonville High School, the defending Class 7A football champion, is the largest in the state with an enrollment of 2,591, according to the figures released Friday. North Little Rock, Cabot, Springdale, Little Rock Central and Conway high schools all have enrollments of greater than 2,000 students.

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