Mineral Wells Index
By TONY EIERDAM
When the University Interscholastic League releases its reclassification and redistricting information on all Texas public high schools in February, Mineral Wells High School will once again be classified in a 4A district.
But all is not what it appears.
On Monday, the UIL released the classification cutoff numbers for the 2014-16 reclassification and realignment.
Although everything appears different, it is really the same.
The UIL will add a Class 6A, but what that really means are schools designated today as Class 5A schools will bump up to Class 6A, if their enrollment numbers fall above 2,100 students.
What the UIL is really doing is eliminating the term “Conference Six Man” by bumping every classification up one notch, providing the enrollment numbers fit inside the new cutoff numbers.
Now “six man,” or schools below 105 students, will be referred to as “Class A.”
Mineral Wells, which turned in 904 students, will be “bumped” to Class 4A, but a new twist has been added to the new Class 4A and Class 3A alignments.
Beginning with the new realignment, 4A and 3A districts will now be split into “big” school (Division I) and “small” school (Division II) districts with each district competing for separate state championships.
In the past in 4A and 3A, football teams making the playoffs would be split into the two divisions as each classification played for two state championships.
The new rule will split the schools into the two divisions for district play and the schools will play in “Division I” and “Division II” districts.
In the new Class 4A, schools with enrollments no larger than 465 and no less than 685 will play in Division II districts, while 4A schools like Mineral Wells – whose student enrollment is larger than 686 students but no more than 1,059 students – will be placed in Division I districts.
The new districts will not be made available by the UIL until Feb. 3.
MWISD Athletic Director Chuck Lawrence feels the plan is good in theory, but added it could come with a set of problems as well.
“On paper, I like the idea,” Lawrence said.”We knew all along that Mineral Wells would be in 4A, but at least now we know what division we will be in.
“Again, this idea seems sound on paper, but I think it may cause some travel problems like we see in the lower classes.”
Indeed. When Conference Six Man split into two divisions, Palo Pinto County schools Gordon and Strawn – just seven miles apart – were put in separate divisions which means not only do they not play each other in district play, but will never face each other in the playoffs, either.
In Classes 5A and 6A the football playoff format will remain the same as the teams will be put into Division I and Division II brackets following regular season play.
As far as what district Mineral Wells High School will be put in, realize that Graham (960 students), Burkburnett (928), Abilene Wylie (1,003), Alvarado (982) and Stephenville (996) are schools near the area with similar enrollment numbers.
“We will have to wait until February to find out what district we will be placed in,” Lawrence said.