Well this was a surprise.
The calls from around the state have gotten louder lately to do away with AA--it was a broken system from the start--and it seems like the MPA might have listened.
In a new classification plan, approved last night, the MPA has made the most drastic change since going to 5 classes. Naturally, I got a copy of it and have confirmed it with multiple sources. This is a massive change from what was leaked this fall.
AA is gone. In its place is "Class S" (for "Statewide") of the smallest schools in the state. S is a 1 region class and this actually makes some sense, if you weren't just going to go back to 4 classes. The schools with fewer than 100 students naturally struggle to keep their rosters full so the size of the regions can fluctuate.
Beyond Class S is a structure that is essentially the 4 class system we all know and love, only not as robust. The new A North still only has 10 teams, while A South has 15, and C South, ironically, only has 10 instead of their current 18. It seems like you could have easily moved Winthrop, Kents Hill, and Dirigo up from the new D. The breakdown of B/C/D South is pretty awkward.
Class B is now the biggest class, with 16 & 17 teams per region.
There's a lot to unpack here and the MPA still hasn't even attempted to do anything beyond drawing a line in the enrollment sand and calling it a day. There's no real effort here to address competitive balance. But killing off AA is not something I thought they would be willing to do, so this is certainly progress.
One important thing to note at the end of the email is this:
The committee also recommended the ability for teams having a lack of success to apply down with the Basketball Committee’s approval and still be eligible for the tournament, similar to football.
That could be pretty big.
So What's Next?
This is still a proposal and need to be fully approved.
Teams have until January 19th to make their thoughts known before the meeting on January 19th, but they don't tend to stray too far from the approved version.
If you really, really love AA, enjoy this final ride.