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Monday, January 16, 2006 4:47 PM

Illinois Moves to Four Classes for High School Basketball

By Bobby Mayberry

On January 11, 2006, the Illinois High School Association (IHSA) voted to adopt a three and four class system for the 2007-08 school year. Eight sports are affected. Of local interest, track and field is expanding to three classes for both boys and girls. Basketball, softball and baseball will expand to four classes.

The IHSA has approximately 750 member schools. Class 1A will include the smallest one-third of all member schools; approximately 250 schools will be Class 1A. These will be schools that have an enrollment to 289. Class A schools in deep southern Illinois will include Cairo, Egyptian, Shawnee, Meridian, Century, Joppa, Dongola, Cobden, Goreville, Pope County and Hardin County.

Class 2A includes most of the remaining schools that are currently Class A. Among southern Illinois schools, only Murphysboro, which just moved to Class A this season, and Herrin will likely move from Class A to Class 3A.

There will be no Class 4A schools south of the Metro East area.

For the sports moving to four classes, four schools will qualify for the state finals in each of the four classes (16 teams total). Class 1A and 2A finals will be conducted on the same weekend as the Class A on the current ISHA calendar. Class 3A and 4A will be conducted on the same weekend as the Class AA on the current IHSA calendar.

Since only four teams in each class will be advancing to the State Finals instead of the current eight, some other changes were required. Each class will consist of four Super-Sectionals. Each class will have eight Sectional complexes with at least 16 schools in each one. There will be 32 regional sites for each class.

Illinois went from a single class system to a two class system for most sports for the 1971-72 school year. Meridian High School, coached by Jim Byasee, played in the inaugural Class A Boys Basketball Championship game. The Bobcats were defeated by the Lawrenceville Indians by a score of 63-57. Cairo has placed third on two occasions and fourth on another since the Class A/AA format was introduced.

© 2005 The Cairo Gate