Liberty Hill athletics could potentially see some new faces over the next two years as the University Interscholastic League released the conference cutoff numbers for the 2014-2016 reclassification and realignment this week.
As anticipated, the UIL added a 6A classification as it released the numbers for the range of enrollment for each of the six classifications, including the divisional cutoffs for football.
Liberty Hill moves into the 4A clasification, with its enrollment falling within the range of 465–1,059 students.
At the end of October, Liberty Hill High School submitted to UIL an enrollment of 954, placing it within the 4A range.
The 2014-2016 alignments will be released on Feb. 3 for football and basketball. District alignments for other activities will be released in the order of their seasons.
Every two years, the UIL takes the enrollment from all the schools and divides them into classifications. This is in an effort to balance the classifications and prevent one school from having an advantage over smaller schools.
In February 2014, the UIL will decide districts by mapping out all of the schools in each classification and aligning them in districts that make geographic sense.
“Every classification will basically move up,” said Liberty Hill Athletic Director Jerry Vance. “So the old 5A schools will move up to the new 6A classification and schools like Leander and Cedar Park will move up to 5A.”
There will be two divisions for football for Class 4A. Based on the numbers, Liberty Hill will fall in 4A Division I for football. All the other Liberty Hill sports will just be classified as 4A.
“The reclassification won’t make any difference in our expectations,” Vance said. “I think for football travel, it will be difficult. It could present problems for us trying to find sub-varsity games. And for our coaches that get back late Thursday nights from sub-varsity games and teach classes the next morning and then have to get ready for the varsity games on Friday night.
“When we get to the playoffs it’s pretty much going to be exactly the same,” Vance said. “There will be 16 districts in Division I for football, and there will be 16 districts for Division II in football. They’ll take the winner and runner-up.”
In years past when the playoffs started for 3A, the two largest playoff schools would be put in Division I and the two smallest playoff schools would be put in Division II. Now the UIL is essentially pre-dividing the schools and districts to make it easier once the playoffs roll around.
Next year, 4A (the current 3A) will be like 2A, with pre-divided districts in each division. As a result, there is the potential that longtime rivals Burnet and Liberty Hill will be in different districts in 2014.