TOPEKA – Last month at the USD 443 Board of Education meeting, Abilene director of athletics Will Burton presented the proposal for expansion of the North Central Kansas League and hinted that maybe Abilene might slip down a classification in football due to enrollment numbers taken on September 20.
Friday, the Kansas State High School Activities Association released the school classifications for the remainder of the 2021-2022 school year and the classifications for football for the next two seasons. Football scheduling is done every two years as schools agree to a home and away format with each other. Football classifications are based on announced enrollment of ninth, tenth and eleventh grades only. Classifications for all sports and activities for the remainder of the current school includes the count of twelfth graders.
Burton said when addressing the board about the possibility of adding Rock Creek and possibly Riley County that there might be a chance Abilene would slip to Class 3A in football which would increase the possibility of adding both schools to the football schedule for the next two years. However, Friday’s announcement shows that Abilene is the smallest football school in Class 4A with 330 students. Wamego is even bigger at 395 and these two schools are the only members of the NCKL in Class 4A. All other current members will be listed in the 40-member Class 3A football schools.
Rock Creek at 257 is larger than Concordia (230) and Marysville (188). Riley County (158) slips to Class 2A for the next football cycle.
In Class 4A, Kansas City Schlagle with an enrollment of 663 becomes the largest in the class moving down from 5A. St. Thomas Aquinas (662) also moves down to Class 4A from 5A while Great Bend and Lansing moved up to Class 5A.
Kansas may have a 6-Man state championship game beginning next year as 26 schools can have the opportunity to change to 6-player format. That number includes 12 current 8-Man schools including Lost Springs-Centre and Peabody-Burns of the Wheat State League.
School athletic directors gather on October 6th to put together the football schedules for the next two seasons now knowing who may be available for scheduling due to classification divisional and regional requirements.