I've Got the MPA's New Classification Proposals and They Definitely Break Teams Into 4 or 5 Classes

Want to know where they have your team going now?

I've Got the MPA's New Classification Proposals and They Definitely Break Teams Into 4 or 5 Classes
*not actually classified

It's been a long road to a new classification plan for basketball.

As you probably already know, there was a plan that was soundly rejected by the members on Valentine's Day, throwing everything into a state of disarray. Since then, rumors and alternate plans have been circulating.

Over the course of several discussions, I was able to get some clarification on this during Tourney Week, but haven't until now seen the entirety of the plan.

I don't know that we'll end up with either of these plans, at least not exactly like this. There's just too many red flags. There also seems to be some errors that are easily fixable.

The teams in lighter gray are teams that would be eligible to petition down a class based on the criteria of winning fewer than 25% of their games over the last several years.

One key difference in petitioning down is it isn't exactly how you're thinking of it. According to my conversation with Mike Burnham at the MPA, teams will be sent down with the option to request that they can stay where they are and the committee will reserve the right to keep a team in their class despite otherwise being a candidate, should they have a strong class of players on the way (i.e. the Cooper Flagg situation) or should they get sent down and have a certain level of success at the lower class.

Having said all that, here's the proposed 5-class layout.

Boys 5-Class

Girls 5-Class

I've heard some talk about AA potentially being one large class, which makes some sense. It was always weird to have Portland in the North, but it's even more illogical to have 11 teams in the South and 7 in the North (and that's if Massabesic can manage to find enough girls to field a team). But even if you make this one big class, you've still only got 18 teams for a 16 team tournament. Part of the problem is there just aren't enough "large" teams to fully justify AA but too big of a difference in size between schools like Thornton Academy (1,345) and, say, Skowhegan (707)

There's some other weird stuff down the line. Some of it is a by-product of the challenge of trying to balance regions and some is an error. For example, the Morse girls and boys are both relegated here, but one to the North and one to the South, which would be a cruel trick to play on their bus driver. However, currently Lincoln Academy and Mt. Ararat(!) move to the North. For Mt. Ararat, that just means a trip to Augusta instead of Portland, but for Lincoln Academy, that means potentially heading to Bangor, which is a hike.

Class C is for schools with enrollment of 130-309, but Houlton (331), Foxcroft (322), and Washington Academy (317) are there. That appears to be an error.

It's worth noting that in the cover letter for this proposal, Burnham freely admits there are likely errors, as this is several steps away from being a final draft and the ultimate goal is to solicit input from membership.

On to the 4-Class proposals.

Boys 4-Class

Girls 4-Class

Personally, I prefer this.

You've still got Lincoln Academy in B North with Caribou. That's doesn't make a ton of sense when you could keep them in the South and then you've got balanced regions. But Lincoln Academy (and Medomak and Richmond and a couple other schools are on that fuzzy line between North and South).

One big question here is does the membership have the stomach to put Richmond and Gardiner in the same region? I'm not sure they do.

I've written at length about how we quite simply don't have enough teams to support a 5-class structure. The Thornton Academy girls got a bye to the semifinals. The semifinals! That's ridiculous. Imagine how much more interesting it would be if the AA season started in December along with everyone else and not with a "quarterfinal" round before the actual season starts in the semifinals. The 4-Class proposal fixes this.

But from what I'm hearing there's a lot of competing interests that make this difficult. Teams that don't want to have to play larger schools. Schools that don't want the extra travel. And a bunch of other reasons. But someone has to get a raw deal. There's no perfect puzzle you can put together here. The key isn't to please the loudest people. The key is to make it as equitable as possible.

It was a bad sign when the S-Class died a quick death.

I firmly believe this is the sort of thing that should be exposed to as much scrutiny and input as possible prior to going into Executive Session and before you know it, Caribou is driving 256 miles one-way to play a 5/12 prelim in Newcastle.

March 6th is the next meeting.

Got any thoughts on where your teams might end up? Put them in the comments.