Classification committee continuing to examine new ideas, different systems

All-School Summit Mike Schmidt

Mike Schmidt. (Ryan Casey/CHSAANow.com)

LONE TREE — A broad effort to examine CHSAA's current classification system is underway.

A subcommittee of the Classification and League Organizing Committee (CLOC) has met twice so far after being tasked last November to look at how schools and teams are divided into divisions of competition.

On Tuesday, Mike Schmidt, the principal at Platte Canyon who is in charge of the classification subcommittee, updated their progress at the All-School Summit. CHSAA's current classification system has remain unchanged since 1933 — schools have been classified solely by enrollment for more than 80 years.

"We're just trying to figure out: is there a better way to classify teams and sports, and are there changes we could recommend for your consideration in the future?" Schmidt said.

He opened by stressing that the classification committee was merely making recommendations to CLOC, that that any potential changes made wouldn't be implemented until the 2020-22 cycle at the earliest, and that they could even recommend not changing anything.

"We're not making any decisions," Schmidt said. "We're just looking at the information, we're trying to do some of the leg work for you, and make some recommendations. Then it's up to you to decide whether or not that's going to be in the best interest of our student-athletes, because that's why we're here."

The classification committee met for the first time in January, then again during the state wrestling tournament in February.

At the January meeting, they talked about their goal — and landed "on the idea of at least exploring other options," Schmidt said. So they created a survey of all member schools to figure out what factors were most important in creating classifications.

They also talked about potential additions or alternatives to the current enrollment-based classification system, such as a competitive balance component, and just the basic concept of increasing participation through this process.

In February, the classification committee examined the results of their survey.

"Enrollment, by far and away, was the most important factor you identified," Schmidt said. "We know, if nothing else, that is going to be part of some system down the line, most likely. But there were certainly other factors that were significant."

Factors such as students from outside a school's district participating in their programs; percentage of students participation in activities; admissions processes; or on-field success.

That last factor, on-field success, Schmidt said, "raises a lot of interesting questions."

But some of these concepts are already in place in varying stages around the nation, and so the classification committee will continue to research what other state associations are doing.

"Do we want to reinvent the wheel?" Schmidt asked. "We've got 50 other associations out there who are doing the same thing and looking at the same issues. There are most likely systems out there that would interest us and apply to our geographically-varied and diverse state."

"Once we've got some of that information," he added, "we'll see if that's something we would want to adopt, or look at doing our own thing.

The classification committee is due to meet again this fall.