UNION COUNTY — Back in August, the South Carolina High School League announced the 2018 realignments which left Union County High School competing in class 4A. Upon appeal, filed by Union County, the Jackets were later moved down one classification to class 3A.
The appeal was filed, and later granted, based mostly on the fact that Union County has to travel an extraordinary amount to compete with other teams in their region. This amount of travel, mostly to northern Greenville County, is especially trying on sports that compete during the week, which is most sports except football. Many parents have complained about the late nights this amount of travel, sometimes as much as an hour and a half one direction, has caused.
This decision is now in jeopardy as a number of schools have asked the appellate panel revisit this issue. Chapman, Landrum, Chesnee, Woodruff, Emerald, and Clinton High Schools have asked the panel to reverse their decision from August and put Union County back in Class 4A. (Landrum High School also won an appeal back in August that sent them from class 3A back down to class 2A). Union County is currently one of the smallest schools in class 4A. With an enrollment of around 1,050 students, Union County High School would be the largest school in Class 3A.
Union County is a 450 students smaller than the Travelers Rest High School in class 4A and about 200 students bigger than Emerald High School in class 3A. Caught in the middle, and since Union’s population is shrinking and not growing, it makes sense to think the numbers will trend toward those 3A schools instead of those 4A schools that are in areas like Greenville, Greer, and Travelers Rest where people are moving in almost every day.
It is important to for us to remember that these kids are Student-Athletes. Notice the student part comes first. Expecting a child to get out of school at 3 p.m. (and) travel a hour and a half to play a sport, then a hour and a half back is ridiculous. It is even more ridiculous when they could play teams twenty to thirty minutes away that are from areas like Clinton, Newberry, and Emerald.
The Appellate panel will meet Wednesday, January 31, at 11 a.m. to discuss whether or not to vacate the previous decision to send Union County to 3A and rehear the case again. Union County Schools Superintendent Dr. Bill Roach will represent Union County at the meeting that will be held at the SCHSL Office in Columbia. The meeting is open to the public. For those who may be interested in attending the High School League office is located at 121 Westpark Boulevard, Columbia, SC.
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