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VHSL Makes Radical Changes To Playoff Structure

The Virginia High School League Executive Committee approved its long debated six classification system on Wednesday afternoon.

The committee approved the motion by a 23-3 vote to move from its present three classification system. The changes include a radical overhaul to the postseason structure, but will leave the regular season (and district membership) intact.

Beginning with the 2013 school, Prince Edward County will move into the James River District as a Group 2A member. The Southside District will dissolve, with PE going to the James River, and the remaining members moving to the Tri-Rivers District.

The James River District will consist of its present schools, plus PECHS. JRD member schools will advance to either the Group 1A or Group 2A playoffs, depending on enrollment.

Instead of the traditional regional playoff format, state postseason tournaments will be divided into two major divisions per group (North and South, or East and West, depending on how geography best fits each individual group). Those divisions will be subdivided into conferences that will conduct the first rounds of the new 32-team postseason tournament formats.

District tournaments, which will now be optional, will have no bearing on the postseason conference tournament structure.

James River District members Amelia, Bluestone, Goochland and Nottoway will join with Brunswick, Greensville and Prince Edward to form Group 2A East Conference 34.

Buckingham and Randolph-Henry will play its postseason contests in Group 2A West Conference 37. The two schools will be joined by present Dogwood members Appomattox, Chatham, Dan River and Gretna.

Though Prince Edward and Buckingham will both be members of the James River District in the regular-season, the two will participate in separate playoff brackets. It's theoretically possible that the two schools could face one-another in a Group 2A State Championship game.

Cumberland and Central of Lunenburg will participate in Group 1A East Conference 44. The schools will be joined by Altavista Galieleo Magnet, Highland High and Parry McCluer.