- Associated Press - Wednesday, January 22, 2014

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - The Alabama High School Athletic Association created a new sports classification for the state’s largest schools Wednesday, with leaders saying the change would let more students play for championships and boost revenues.

Members of the central board voted unanimously to change the current, six-class system into a seven-class system starting with the upcoming academic year that begins in the fall.

The system will be in place at least through the following year, officials said.

Class 7A will include the 32 largest schools in all sports. Each class other than 7A will have around 60 schools.

“The seven-classification system will allow more student-athletes to participate in championship events, and more will experience first-hand what it means to play in some of the best venues in our state,” said Lamar Brooks, president of the central board.

The additional championships also will create more income to be distributed through the association’s revenue-sharing program, he said.

The association executive director, Steve Savarese, said the seven-class system will allow the organization to group schools more closely in enrollment.

The old, six-class system began in 1984.

Here is a breakdown of the 32 schools in the new Class 7A:

Region 1: Alma Bryant, Baker, Davidson, Fairhope, Foley, Mary Montgomery, McGill-Toolen, Murphy, Theodore.

Region 2: Auburn, Central-Phenix City, Enterprise, Jeff Davis, Lee-Montgomery, Prattville, Smiths Station.

Region 3: Hewitt-Trussville, Hoover, Mountain Brook, Oak Mountain, Spain Park, Thompson, Tuscaloosa Co., Vestavia Hills

Region 4: Bob Jones, Buckhorn, Gadsden City, Grissom, Hazel Green, Huntsville, James Clemens, Sparkman.



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