What could be in store for Crawford County high school football teams after reclassification in 2022?

George "Clay" Mitchell
Press Argus-Courier

Crawford County football teams will see some changes with the upcoming 2022-24 cycle.

The Arkansas High School Activities Association has finished compiling the attendance numbers, which will impact the way conferences will be set at the end of the 2021 season.

HODGE CONTINUES TRADITION:'Barrels, ropes, and goats:' 14-year-old Kenlee Hodge keeps family tradition at area rodeos

Alma and Class 5A may see the biggest shift. Both Little Rock Christian Academy and Pulaski Academy in the 5A Central should be moved to Class 6A due to the new Competitive Equity Factor. 

Alma competes in 5A West.

If this happens, it'll reshape the 5A Central Conference since it will lose two teams to a higher classification.

This move also bumps both Greenbrier and Jacksonville, the two smallest schools in Class 6A, back into 5A. Both Sylvan Hills and Sheridan could move to the 6A West since the two schools are under three hours away from Van Buren and allows the Little Rock private schools to remain in the Central Conference.

Explaining Competitive Equity Factor

The Arkansas Activities Association recently approved of the Competitive Equity Factor (CEF) to balance the private and public schools in Arkansas. The multiplier which places private schools in a higher classification remains. However, the CEF assigns points to a private school's team based on its success during a season. If a team accumulates more than 10 points within a four-year period in a single sport (football, basketball, baseball, soccer, and volleyball), that team's sport moves up a classification.

A team gains a point if it finishes the season with a winning conference record, two points if it wins a playoff or tournament game, three points if it reaches the state finals, and four points if it wins a state final. A team can only have a maximum of four points per season. Pulaski Academy and LR Christian have combined to win the past seven state titles in football, while Pulaski Academy has won five.

The other sports (bowling, golf, wrestling, tennis, cross country, swimming, and diving) have a different formula with just points for reaching the state finals (3) and winning a state final (4). If a team earns more than 10 points within a four-year period, it will move up a classification.

A private school that accumulates two points or less during the same period in a sport will move down a classification in that sport. Thus, a private school can have teams in three different conferences in the same two-year cycle.

This formula is similar to Wisconsin, Ohio, Alabama, Missouri, and other states.

PERKINS CHASES LEGEND:'When it's done, we're father and son': Alma High's Colby Perkins is chasing legendary dad

Cedarville's 3A Conference may welcome former opponents Lavaca and Hackett, while Lincoln could move into the 4A Conference.

Mountainburg's 2A Conference could see the biggest shift. The league is already down to six teams after Decatur and Western Yell County moved to 8-man football within the past few seasons. With both Hackett and Lavaca moving to 3A, it leaves the 2A-4 with just four teams.

The 2A-5 is also being reduced to four teams after losing Quitman and Magnet Cove to Class 3A. So, on paper, the easiest shift would be to merge the 2A-4 and 2A-5. However, Poyen is more than a three-hour drive from Moutainburg High School, with other schools like Mount Ida and Carlisle, both 30 minutes closer than Poyen.