CLOC recommends new splits to evenly divide teams into classifications

(Ryan Casey/

CHSAA's Classification and League Organizing Committee met on Tuesday. (Ryan Casey/

AURORA — The enrollment splits used to divide classifications got a pretty major overhaul on Tuesday.

The Classification and League Organization Committee set the new figures to be used in the 2016-18 two-year cycle with an eye at evenly distributing teams among classifications. Basketball's numbers were used as a basis for all team sports, save for football. Individual sports (such as track, tennis and golf) will each have their own enrollment splits to evenly divide teams among their classifications.

Find the new enrollment numbers here.

As a whole, the idea was based upon something wrestling did in April. Expanding the model to all sports was first floated at CHSAA's All-School Summit in July.

"The wrestling model showed us what can happen," said Randy Holmen, the principal at Holly High School who chairs CLOC. "We felt like today turned out the way it was supposed to."

The changes will need to be approved at the Legislative Council meeting in January.

Ultimately, on Tuesday, CLOC sought equity in terms of numbers. For team sports, the result will place 66 teams in each classification for boys and girls basketball, and volleyball. The splits also did a job good of evenly distributing teams in other sports, as well. For example, in boys soccer, 5A and 4A will both have 66 teams, while 3A will have 71. (See the full breakdown here.)

However, the new enrollment splits are based upon this year's figures. As such, CLOC built in a 5 percent variance which would allow those numbers to change if needed based upon school enrollments determined in October 2015. That way, any changes could be made to ensure the equity in numbers remains.

Football's class splits were also set by CLOC, and those seek to evenly distribute teams among classifications, as well. The result is 42 teams in 5A, 4A, 2A and 1A, 4A in 3A and 71 to be divided between 8-man and 6-man. (Find the full football numbers here.)

The enrollment figures for individual sports with multiple classes were also determined by CLOC on Tuesday. The committee took the total number of teams in the sport, and divided by the number of classifications. Those figures are below.

There is another wrinkle that will need to be addressed: These enrollment splits did take into account programs which historically play up, but it does not account for those unforeseen teams which will be playing up or playing down. This could also cause the numbers to change ahead of their final version.

Committee considers mandating play-ups

Before they jumped into the enrollment cutoffs, the committee took a detour to talk about forcing consistently successful teams to play up a classification.

"We have the criteria for schools to play down," said Dave Schuessler, the athletic director at Clear Creek, "but is the committee willing to tell them they have to play up?"

The question sparked a 15-minute conversation on the topic, including the philosophy behind equity: Is the goal competitive balance or a balance of numbers?

"There are two issues we're talking about right now," said Jim Thyfault, district athletic director at Jefferson County Schools, "and they aren't one in the same."

"The most successful team has to move up, and we're going to penalize them now?" said Horizon athletic director Eric Gustafson. "If all we're doing is balancing the numbers, then we don't even need the names of the schools. We can just deal with the numbers."

Ultimately, the committee decided to create a subcommittee which would explore the topic further. Three CLOC members were appointed.


  • CLOC approved probationary membership for six new schools: Atlas Prep (Colorado Springs), Beth Eden (Wheat Ridge), Faith Baptist (Longmont), Front Range Baptist (Fort Collins), Lotus School of Excellence (Aurora), and Northfield (Denver). If approved by the Legislative Council, it would bring CHSAA's membership to 352 schools. Eight additional schools have inquired about membership.
  • Five schools were granted final approval for CHSAA membership: Aurora West, KIPP Collegiate, Swallows Charter, Vista Peak and William Smith.
  • Because of that growing membership, CLOC agreed to discuss the possible addition of a 6A classification at its next meeting in April. The target for the move, since last summer, has been 384 schools.
  • With the new enrollment splits, CLOC recommended a third classification for girls golf, girls tennis and girls swimming. It will be up to the sports' committees to decide whether or not to implement them.

Enrollment numbers

Team sports (except football)

Class Current 2016-18
1A 1-92 1-90
2A 93-240 91-248
3A 241-600 249-626
4A 601-1410 627-1356
5A 1411-up 1357-up


Class Current 2016-18 Teams
6-man 1-75 1-135 71
8-man 76-135
1A 136-300 136-339 42
2A 301-599 340-729 42
3A 600-1049 730-1249 41
4A 1050-1609 1250-1798 42
5A 1610-up 1799-up 42

Individual sports (Fall)

Class Cross Country Boys Golf Boys Tennis Gymnastics
5A 1479-up 1385-up 1357-up 1535-up
4A 828-1478 627-1384 1-1356 1-1534
3A 292-827 1-626 - -
2A 1-291 - - -
1A - - - -

Individual sports (Winter)

Class Girls Swim Wrestling
5A 1385-up 1479-up
4A 1-1384 821-1478
3A - 238-820
2A - 1-237
1A - -

Individual sports (Spring)

Class Girls Golf Boys Swim Girls Tennis Track
5A 1255-up 1535-up 1289-up 1461-up
4A 1-1254 1-1534 1-1288 788-1460
3A - - - 270-787
2A - - - 96-269
1A - - - 1-95

Teams per class

As of Oct. 2014 counts

Team sports

Class Basketball Volleyball Baseball Boys lax Boys soccer Girls soccer Softball
5A 66 66 65 38 66 66 65
4A 66 66 67 36 66 66 58
3A 66 66 57 - 71 51 40
2A 66 66 47 - - 24 -
1A 66 66 32 - - - -
Class Cross Country Boys Golf Boys Tennis Gymnastics
5A 58 61 62 21
4A 58 61 61 21
3A 58 61 - -
2A 60 - - -
1A - - - -

Individual sports (Winter)

Class Girls Swim Wrestling
5A 61 57
4A 61 57
3A - 57
2A - 60
1A - -

Individual sports (Spring)

Class Girls Golf Boys Swim Girls Tennis Track
5A 77 43 74 60
4A 77 44 74 60
3A - - - 60
2A - - - 60
1A - - - 60