The league instituted sweeping changes in 2013 in hopes of eliminating playoff games that feature two schools with vastly different enrollments. The main goal was accomplished. But there were two unintended consequences: teams had to travel more, and gate revenue decreased. Consequently, many athletics directors felt a crunch on their bottom line.
To remedy the situation, the VHSL will break each of the six classifications into four regions. Currently, each classification has two regions.
When a team reaches the playoffs, it will advance directly to the region tournament and play the other teams in its region. The regions were designed with geography in mind, grouping teams that are in the same geographic area, with some exceptions.
Conferences and conference tournaments will be eliminated. Many conferences struggled to make money, and they never established rivalries the way the VHSL intended.
The old districts — including the Capital, Central, Colonial and Dominion in greater Richmond — will still exist. But winning a district championship will have no impact on a team’s playoff future.
Districts still will have a role, though. They will be the basis for a team’s regular-season schedule, just as they are now. Most teams will continue to play their district opponents in the regular season.
Another change was made to the terminology. The classifications no longer will be known as 6A, 5A, 4A, etc. Instead, they’ll be called Class 6, Class 5, Class 4, etc.
Class 6, Region B
Clover Hill, Colonial Forge, Cosby, Thomas Dale, Franklin County, James River, Manchester, Riverbend
Class 5, Region B
Atlee, L.C. Bird, Deep Run, Douglas Freeman, Glen Allen, Mills Godwin, Henrico, Hermitage, Highland Springs, Lee-Davis, Matoaca, Meadowbrook, Prince George, J.R. Tucker, Varina
Class 4, Region B
Caroline, Chancellor, Courtland, Dinwiddie, Eastern View, Hanover, Patrick Henry, Huguenot, King George, Louisa, Midlothian, Monacan, Powhatan
Class 3, Region A
Colonial Heights, Hopewell, Lakeland, New Kent, I.C. Norcom, Park View (South Hill), Petersburg, Phoebus, Southampton, Tabb, B.T. Washington, York
Class 3, Region B
Armstrong, Brentsville District, Culpeper, Thomas Jefferson, Manassas Park, John Marshall, James Monroe, William Monroe, Skyline, Spotsylvania, Warren County, George Wythe
Class 2, Region A
Amelia, Arcadia, Bluestone, Bruton, Brunswick, Goochland, Greensville, King William, Nandua, Nottoway, Poquoson, Prince Edward, Randolph-Henry, Maggie Walker GS
Class 1, Region A
Colonial Beach, Charles City, Chincoteague, Essex, Franklin, King & Queen, Lancaster, Mathews, Middlesex, Northampton, Northumberland, Rappahannock, Surry, Sussex, Washington and Lee, West Point, Windsor
Class 1, Region B
Altavista, Appomattox Regional GS, William Campbell, Carver College / Career Academy, Central Lunenburg, Cumberland, Galileo, Stonewall Jackson, Rapphannock County, Riverheads
To view the original story by Eric Kolenich on the Richmond Times Dispatch, please click here.