The North Carolina High School Athletic Association released the proposed classification realignment list for member schools Friday.

Duplin County schools will remain in their current classifications as Wallace Rose Hill, East Duplin and James Kenan are 2A schools and North Duplin in the 1A classification after the NCHSAA’s initial realignment 2021-2024 meeting last week in Chapel Hill.

But Richlands, Croatan, Dixon, Topsail, New Hanover, Eastern Wayne, Trask and Currituck are moving to higher classifications.

The Coastal 8 looks due for a change, with Richlands, Croatan and Dixon all moving to the 3A ranks. Locally, Pender will stay 1A and Trask goes to 2A.

All this might mean Southwest Onslow, a school that stayed 2A, could be looking for a conference and the ECC is an option. Trask and Eastern Wayne are other schools that might be ECC-bound. EW moved from 3A to 2A.

During the 2017-21 realignment, the NCHSAA used a 20-30-30-20 model.

For that model, 20 percent of member schools based on student population size of a school were in Class 1A, 30 percent of member schools were in Class 2A, 30 percent of member schools were in Class 3A and 20 percent of member schools were placed in Class 4A.

The 20 percent of member schools with the largest student population were placed in 4A. The middle 60 percent of member schools were split 30 percent each in Class 3A and Class 2A with the smallest 20 percent placed in Class 1A.

The region will see a shift in classification for member schools during the next four seasons under the 25-25-25-25 model.

Currituck County and First Flight high schools are set to move from Class 2A to Class 3A beginning in 2021-22.

The association said classification is based on each school’s Final Realignment Score.

The NCHSAA used the average daily membership, which measures the average student population at a member school — athletic department overall performance in state cup standings and identified student percentage, which is a number that is representative of the number of students in each school who are on some form of government assistance per USDA guidelines, in the classification process.

During the realignment process, a permanent East-West line was established to split the state by the two regions.

All schools in northeast North Carolina are designated in the East region. The NCHSAA has over 400 member schools.

Next in the process is determining conferences. The realignment process is expected to be finalized in March 2021.

Ten-game seasons

Starting in the fall of 2021, the high school football season will go from 11 games to 10 games with one of those contest being an endowment game.

The first games may occur no earlier than two days prior to the last Friday in August.

Four champs

in fall of 2021

The playoffs will also look drastically different, but will have an old school feel as only four state champs will be crowned—  no more sub-dividing the classifications to have eight champs.

Public schools will start the 2020 season in February under the current alignment with eight state champs. The 2021-25 plan does not start until August 1, 2021.

Michael Jaenicke can be reached at