UNION COUNTY — The South Carolina High School League released the initial draft of their biennial conference realignment on Wednesday. Two years ago during this realignment the SCHSL created a new classification for SC high school sports making an all-new 5A classification for the first time. This year’s changes aren’t quite as dramatic, but there are some changes high school sports fans need to know about. Some of those changes do affect UCHS.
In the largest classification, 5A, the upstate will move from four regions to three. Each of these three regions will have eight teams. Region one will be: Easley, Greenwood, TL Hanna, Westside, Wade Hampton, and Woodmont. Region two will be: Boiling Springs, Byrnes, Dorman, Gaffney, Hillcrest, Mauldin, Riverside, and Spartanburg. Region three will consist of: Clover, Fort Mill, Nation Ford, Northwestern, Rock Hill, Spring Valley, and York. 5A will have a total of 48 teams in the changes take effect in 2018.
In Class 4A there will be 41 schools. There will be three Upstate regions, three lower state regions and what will probably be a “floater” region. Union County will remain in region two. Region two will add two new members to take the region up to a seven-team region. The region will be made up of: Berea, Blue Ridge, Eastside, Greenville, Greer, Travelers Rest, and Union County. There was some speculation before this proposal was released that Union County would drop down to 3A. A drop to 3A would have been welcomed by many, as it would have put the Jackets into a region with teams that are closer to them geographically. The amount of travel for Union County has at times been burdensome on teams especially when having to travel to Greenville schools for matches and games that begin at 5 p.m. Union County will be the eighth smallest school in class 4A.
The biggest shakeup in class 3A comes with teams in Spartanburg County being moved around. Region two will be Broome, Carolina, Chapman, Chesnee, Landrum, and Southside. Last year Landrum and Chesnee were both in Class 2A. Landrum missed being in class 2A again by one student according to enrollment numbers. This jump in classification for Chesnee is the first such move since 1984. The Chesnee Eagles new Coach Bill Owens stated that the move up in classifications for them and Landrum has nothing to do with the growth of these schools but instead the emergence of the many charter schools who are allowed to compete in the SCHSL. Region Three will be Clinton, Emerald, Mid-Carolina, Newberry, Newberry, and Woodruff.
Each classification will decide on how the playoffs will be conducted in the coming months. No major changes are expected in the playoff system, however it will be interesting to see how class 5A will handle having an odd number of regions in the upperstate. Schools are allowed to appeal these decisions, but these appeals are almost never granted. If no appeals are granted these changes will take place with the 2018-2019 academic year.
Tyler Shugart is the host of “Bump and Run” from 7-9 a.m. on Fox Sports 1400 AM 98.3 FM in Spartanburg.