Competitive equity at the forefront of new classification structure

ThunderRidge Rock Canyon girls soccer

(Daniel Deschane/CHSAANow.com)

AURORA — Fair play and equitable opportunities for all programs was the focus of a number of bylaws passed by the Legislative Council during their meetings in 2018.

At the center of those changes was an overhaul of the way classifications will be created and structured. This will allow CHSAA staff, committees and the membership to consider other factors outside of enrollment when creating classes.

Under the new classification structure, teams will be placed into classifications based upon a variety of factors, including things like competitive history, socioeconomic disadvantages, enrollments trends, demographics, geography, and safety and risk minimization. (See bylaw 1500 for a complete breakdown.)

In moving forward with the reorganization of classification structure, the programs that were approved to play down a classification, and those that were placed down by the Classification and League Organizing Committee, will have full opportunities to participate in postseason play.

"Multiple interpretations and past precedent allowed placed-down programs to advance to postseason play," said CHSAA commissioner Rhonda Blanford-Green. "It makes common sense based on the revisions and similar criteria that programs that are playing down would be given the same opportunities."

For the past three seasons, teams playing down a classification after meeting certain criteria — including a winning percentage below .250 for the previous four seasons — were ineligible to play in the postseason. That bylaw was passed in January 2015.

However, other schools which went through CLOC to apply for a reclassification of their programs — in other words, to be placed down a classification — had been able to maintain postseason eligibility.

Among the changes at April's Legislative Council meeting was the deletion of the language in bylaw 1500.27 which made teams playing down a classification ineligible for the postseason.