NMAA realigns small classes

By Eric Butler

The New Mexico Activities Association has scrapped its controversial alignment for prep athletics.

Class 1A and 2A will be realigned for the 2004-05 school year. The larger schools will be realigned the following year.

The new alignment-classification plan approved by the NMAA’s board of directors Wednesday is similar to one in Montana that takes enrollment, geography, district alignment and competition factors into account. It was compiled by a nine-person NMAA committee, including newly hired NMAA executive director Gary Tripp and athletic directors.

Committee chairman Mario Martinez of Fort Sumner said the system takes a “common-sense approach” to alignment. It’s expected to reduce travel expenses and missed classes for student-athletes. It also drops the balance requirements, allowing some districts to have more schools than others.

“We’re trying to do something that benefits students,” Martinez said. “I don’t believe the old system did that. This new system isn’t perfect, but the committee did a lot of research and we think it’s a big improvement.”

Martinez added that changes for 1A and 2A schools in eastern New Mexico will be somewhat minimal with, perhaps, the most significant ones taking place in six-man football.

Next year, Melrose and Clovis Christian (upon accreditation) will be in the same district with Logan — which was moved out of a district that included Roy and New Mexico School for the Deaf.

“It’s all done geographically. Some people in the area may not be overly happy, but it only makes sense to put schools that are closer to each other in the same district,” Martinez said. “There’s six teams in that district and district one (in the southwest part of the state) only has four teams. But, you know, it’s a long way to Animas from anywhere.”

For Texico, its new football district will see Hagerman taking the place of Eunice. In basketball, the Wolverines will no longer have Estancia as a district member.

The NMAA also reversed its original decision to move House up to Class 2A and have decided to levy a fine on the school instead.

As a result, House will stayed in District 4-1A.
House will be fined for failing to meet a deadline for reporting enrollment for students who do not participate in regular activities.