Lake Dallas football coach Michael Young isn't completely sold on the University Interscholastic League's new class and division cutoff numbers, which were released Wednesday. But like many area coaches, he sees a light at the end of the tunnel.
"It will be better for everyone in the long run," Young said. "The numbers do make a difference."
The UIL released its class cutoffs and preliminary enrollment figures for all classifications for the 2018-2020 reclassification and realignment, making it possible for schools to see which class they are in ahead of when the final numbers are released on Feb. 1.
Also included were cutoff numbers for a new split division for Class 5A to help curtail the long-time competition problem of having smaller schools lumped in with schools that have significantly larger enrollment figures. This split-division format (Division I and II) is for the football district schedule and playoffs and is similar to what is in place for Class 1A-4A.
Lake Dallas, which has an enrollment of 1,260, now will be in Class 5A Division II. That division includes schools with enrollment numbers between 1,150 and 1,839.
Braswell, which will begin its third year in the fall with an enrollment of 1,734.5, also will move to Class 5A Division II.
All schools with enrollments between 1,840 and 2,189 will be in Class 5A Division I. That means Denton ISD schools Ryan and Denton will be separated from Braswell. All three were in District 5-5A the past two seasons.
Guyer will remain in Class 6A with an estimated enrollment of 2,514.5.
"It doesn't quite solve everything because the high end of the [5A DII] range is near 600 students more than us," said Young, whose school is only 111 students shy of being in Class 4A (505-1,149). "That's still a big difference. I keep telling everyone that we will still have good teams in our district. So while it will be better, it won't necessarily be easier.
"But it helps."
Lake Dallas competed in District 14-5A the past two seasons, making the playoffs once. Six of its district bunkmates (McKinney North, The Colony, Little Elm, Carrollton Newman Smith, Carrollton Creekview and Carrollton R.L. Turner) will move to Class 5A Division I. Prosper, the district's eighth team, will move up to Class 6A with an enrollment of 2,975.
"It definitely equals out the numbers for football a little better," Young said.
Braswell's Cody Moore agreed. His program is 2-18 in two seasons but likely will have a chance to compete with opponents of comparable size in the next realignment. The only other teams from District 5-5A that will go Division II are Wichita Falls, Wichita Falls Rider and Denison.
"Naturally, you see it as a benefit," Moore said. "I expected us to be Division II the entire time based on the numbers we turned in. With that said, I liked playing against Ryan and Denton, so that's unfortunate. It's not that we could compete with a team like Ryan yet, but I feel like one day we will be able to, and I think it's good for the kids to play them now.
"We are excited, and we hope we compete better in Year 3."
In the grand scheme of things, the announcement of the new cutoffs wasn't much of a surprise to Denton-area UIL teams. Ryan and Denton were expected to be in Class 5A Division I. Argyle and Sanger will remain in Class 4A Division I. Aubrey and Krum remain in 4A Division II.
Pilot Point and Ponder both remain in Class 3A Division I.
That said, there were teams all across the state that ended up moving up or down in classifications. Temple, for example, will move from Class 5A to 6A next year. Waxahachie, Mansfield Lake Ridge and Mansfield Summit will make similar moves.
The split divisions in Class 5A also set up intriguing playoff scenarios moving forward as the 5A Division I football playoffs could feature Ryan, Highland Park, Frisco Lone Star and Mansfield Legacy. Lone Star and Legacy are in the Division II playoffs this year. Ryan and Highland Park are in Division I.
"I think the UIL did a good job," Moore said. "I'll be interested to see how it all works out."
STEVE GAMEL can be reached at 940-566-6869 and via Twitter at @NewspaperSteve.
UIL Conference Cutoffs
The University Interscholastic League released the conference cutoff numbers and preliminary enrollment figures for the 2018-2020 reclassification and realignment. The conference cutoff numbers provide the range of enrollment for each of the six conferences, including divisional cutoffs for football. The 2018-20 alignments will be released Feb. 1 for football and basketball.
|6A||2190 and Above||253 Schools (Basketball)||252 Schools (Football)|
|5A||1150 - 2189||254 schools (Basketball)||253 schools (Football)|
|4A||505-1149||191 schools (Basketball)||183 schools (Football)|
|3A||225 - 504||232 schools (Basketball)||211 schools (Football)|
|2A||105 - 224||198 schools (Basketball)||187 schools (Football)|
|1A||104.9 and below||211 schools (Basketball)||142 schools (Football)|
1A-5A Football Division I and Division I Numbers
|1A Division I||55.5 - 104.9||73 schools|
|1A Division II||55 and below||69 schools|
|2A Division I||161.5 - 224||94 schools|
|2A Division II||105 - 161.4||93 schools|
|3A Division I||335 - 504||106 schools|
|3A Division II||225 - 334||105 schools|
|4A Division I||790 - 1149||93 schools|
|4A Division II||505 - 789||90 schools|
|5A Division I||1840 - 2189||126 schools|
|5A Division II||1150 - 1839||127 schools|
Enrollment Numbers (October 27, 2017)
These figures were submitted to the UIL by school districts based on enrollment on October 27, 2017.