NCHSAA realignment plan: Polk would join new 2A/1A league

Polk County will join a new-look eight-team 2A/1A conference beginning in 2021, according to the first draft of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association’s realignment plan.

The Wolverines will move into a conference with Brevard, Rosman, Hendersonville, East Rutherford, R-S Central, Chase and Thomas Jefferson, according to the NCHSAA plan. Thomas Jefferson and Rosman would be the only 1A schools in that league.

Polk County is slated to rejoin the 2A ranks in 2021 as part of the realignment. The school last competed in 2A in 2013-17. The full list of schools and classifications can be found here.

The first draft of the plan can be found here. Important fact to remember – this is just the first draft of the plan.

Schools will now begin to review the conferences and can submit concerns and proposed adjustments to the NCHSAA until January 8. The Realignment Committee will meet Jan. 13 to review those concerns and will issue a second draft of the plan on Jan. 14.

Schools then have a week to deliver any additional appeals in writing to the committee, which will meet Jan. 27-28 to hear those appeals. A third draft of the realignment plan will then be issued on Feb. 4.

Final appeals are due Feb. 10, with those heard on Feb. 17. At that point, the Realignment Committee will submit a final plan to the NCHSAA Board of Directors, which will vote on the plan sometime in March.

Once approved, the new alignment will go into effect on August 1 and will guide state athletics for the next four seasons.

“The number of ‘split conferences’ in this alignment draft represents the Realignment Committee’s desire not to limit those,” said NCHSAA Commissioner Que Tucker. “It also takes into consideration the protection of natural rivalries and strongly considers geography and travel time. Of course, this means the way of getting into the playoffs must be reviewed and updated. That will come later.

“I am grateful for the commitment and input of the Realignment Committee to faithfully represent the membership in their respective regions during this process. I am also thankful for the hard work of our staff members who diligently worked to meet the established deadlines while continuing to service the other needs of the membership.”

Other proposed conferences involving Western North Carolina schools:

4A/3A: Asheville, A.C. Reynolds, T.C. Roberson, McDowell (4A), Enka, Erwin, North Buncombe (3A)

3A: Franklin, Smoky Mountain, Pisgah, Tuscola, East Henderson, West Henderson, North Henderson

2A/1A: Owen, Madison, Patton, West Caldwell (2A), Mitchell, Avery, Mountain Heritage, Draughn (1A)

1A: Andrews, Blue Ridge, Cherokee, Hayesville, Highlands, Hiwassee Dam, Murphy, Nantahala, Robbinsville, Swain, Tri-County Early College