The N.C. High School Athletic Association announced on Tuesday the school enrollment numbers that will be used to sub-divide the football playoffs.
The NCHSAA receives the current average daily membership (ADM) numbers from the N.C. Department of Public Instruction and adjusts the enrollment number, where applicable, to take into account various programs in specific schools that may or may not be counted in enrollment numbers.
High school football teams can qualify for the NCHSAA playoffs by their conference finish or by their overall record. Each conference has a specified number of qualifying positions. The rest of the field is filled according to the teams’ overall records.
Once 64 teams are selected for the playoffs in each of the NCHSAA’s four classification, each classification is sub-divided. The 32 schools among the qualifying teams in each classification that have the highest enrollments go to the AA class, such as 4AA. The other 32 qualifying teams would be in the A group, such as 4A.
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Wake County has 14 of the 32 schools with the highest enrollments in the state and those schools will be in the 4AA bracket, if the team qualifies. Millbrook (2,695 students), Panther Creek (2,588), Wakefield (2,499), Garner (2,472) and Leesville Road (2,272), for example, will play in the 4AA division when the playoffs begin on Nov. 15.
Clayton (1,492), and East Wake (1,486), on the other hand, are among the smallest 4A schools in the state and would be in the 4A bracket if they qualify.
Schools were placed in conferences this fall based on 2011-12 enrollment numbers, but the sub-dividing is based on 2012-13 numbers. Using different ADM figures creates some unusual situations.
Chapel Hill (1,444) was placed in the 3A classification based on its 2011-12 ADM, but has more students now than East Chapel Hill (1,414), which is a 4A school. And 3A Corinth Holders (1,556) has more students than 4A West Johnston (1,390) and Clayton.
Lee County (1,488) is a 3A school, but has a higher enrollment than East Wake and Northern Durham (1,452), which are 4A. Lee is one of the biggest 3A schools in the state and will play in the 3AA sub-division football playoffs.
Franklinton (1,056) and South Granville (1,005) are two of the biggest 2A schools and are assured of being in the 2AA playoffs.