July 20, 2010

Notebook: Texas to add Class 6A to UIL?

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There is growing support to create a Class 6A that would send even more Texas high school football teams to the playoffs, the head of the University Interscholastic League said Monday.

UIL executive director Charles Breithaupt said "it's more likely now than ever" that about 1,200 high schools would be realigned into six classes of roughly equal size in a shake-up geared at putting more teams in the postseason. Under the plan, four schools from every district of every size would make the playoffs.

Currently, only the two largest classifications - 5A and 4A - advance four teams from each district. Critics say it has created watered-down system where schools that finish 2-8 can sometimes advance in weak districts.

Breithaupt said schools have consistently indicated on surveys that more playoff teams are better.

He wondered if the preference was a product of the everyone-gets-a-trophy mentality that has become common in youth sports leagues.

"You look at the generation we're raising up ... you say those kids are used to getting more," Breithaupt said. "They're used to being in the playoffs. They're used to an extra game and a trophy and being crowned. So maybe it's just us fitting in with societal needs."

Schools will be surveyed about the proposed expansion in October. If there is wide support, the plan could be approved as early as January.

Football realignment is always a hot-button issue in Texas. Until 1989, only one state champion was crowned for each classification. The next year saw Class 5A split its playoffs into Division I and Division II championships, a system that has trickled down to lower classifications.

One issue is the growing disparity of enrollments between schools in Class 5A. Some have called for the UIL to create a "superconference" of the 100 or so biggest schools, but Breithaupt said the talk now has shifted to making the classifications more balanced.

Breithaupt said making six classifications of about 200-210 schools would be easy. Giving an example, Breithaupt said the current six-man Class 1A Division II would become Class 1A, the current 1A Division I would become 2A, 2A would become 3A, and so on.

Breithaupt didn't want to predict whether the plan - one of several ideas on the table - will pass, but said it was generating a lot of attention.

"I think there is a lot of interest from our schools of having six complete conferences and having four teams in the playoffs in everything," Breithaupt said. "At this time, it's the thing I'm hearing more from our schools."

Texas: Taylor leads North to all-star hoops win

T.J. Taylor of Denison (Texas) High scored 18 points to lead the North to a 113-95 win over the South in the annual Texas High School Coaches Association All-Star Basketball Game in San Antonio.

The performance was good enough to earn the University of Oklahoma signee the North's most valuable player award.

He helped the North regain control every time the South threatened, including the third period after the South had trimmed 15 points off the North's 19-point halftime lead. He then opened the fourth quarter with a slam dunk and an assist as the North began to pull away.

Darius Richardson of Richmond (Texas) Fort Bend Bush, a Texas-Arlington signee, was named the South MVP with a 23-point performance.

Iowa: Alleged Cedar Rapids stadium vandals arrested

Cedar Rapids authorities say three suspects have been arrested in connection with a string of vandalism that includes graffiti at Kingston Stadium.

Authorities identified the men arrested as 20-year-old Andrew Ronnenberg, 18-year-old Lester Good and 17-year-old Nicholas Daugherty. All three, from Cedar Rapids, have been charged with second-degree criminal mischief.

Cedar Rapids Community School District officials say about $1,550 in damage was done as a result of the graffiti, which occurred last week.

Some of the graffiti allegedly included a vow to blowup the stadium.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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