5A football representatives meet to discuss future alignment

(Ryan Casey/CHSAANow.com)

AURORA — Class 5A football looks to be moving away from its current waterfall alignment.

On Tuesday, a group of athletic directors and district athletic directors, each representing different 5A leagues, met at the CHSAA office to lay out plans and discuss different ideas on how to align teams for the 2018 and 2019 seasons.

The meeting was a continuation of the football committee’s efforts to involve voices from all around the state, and one the committee requested to get feedback on the current 5A format.

And one thing was unanimous: The current waterfall alignment, which evenly distributed all 5A teams into separate leagues based solely upon their performance in the RPI over previous seasons, needs to change. The group will make that recommendation to the football committee to consider at its meeting in December.

The waterfall alignment will remain in place for the 2017 season, however, as that would have needed to be changed at the Legislative Council meeting this past January.

“We are a dynamic organization, and we should always be open to changes,” football chair Mike Krueger told the group as the meeting opened.

The representatives passed along feedback that the waterfall was not well-received, saying that coaches and administrators wanted to return to traditional rivalries, that it highlighted the disparity that currently exists in 5A, and that a move away from that alignment would be a good way to minimize risk in the sport.

What 5A’s alignment will ultimately look like remains to be seen, but it is possible that it will look similar to what was used in 2014 and 2015 — structured around geography and traditional rivalries.

The group discussed various ideas and options surrounding alignment, but too many variables remain to settle on one recommendation, including the number of schools 5A will ultimately end up with in 2018 and 2019 based upon the coming October enrollment counts.

They also repeatedly expressed concern about how their recommendation might affect other classifications.

“We need other voices in this room,” said Larry Bull, the district athletic director at Cherry Creek Schools.

Tuesday’s meeting continued the football committee’s ongoing approach to shared decision making.

More is on the way: During next week’s All-School Summit each classification will have a breakout session to discuss alignment, as well as other topics. There are also meetings scheduled for September for all seven classifications of football.