NCHSAA board approves reorg

Que Tucker, shown here presenting an award to UCA wrestler Jack McArthur at the state dual team championships earlier this year, announced several changes coming for state high school athletics. (PJ Ward-Brown/Randolph Record)

The North Carolina High School Athletic Association’s Board of Directors held its spring meeting last week and took action on numerous changes in high school sports.

Arguably the most important decision of the session was the approval of the “Big 32” realignment model which was recommended by the Bylaw Task Force Committee.

With the NCHSAA moving to eight classifications beginning with the 2025-26 school year, the “Big 32” model will classify the largest 32 member schools into the 8A classification, and the remaining schools would be divided as evenly as possible among classes 1A through 7A.

After the meeting, NCHSAA commissioner Que Tucker said in a press conference that the realignment process won’t start until the fall which is after the realignment committee is named and receives the schools’ average daily membership data for the first 20 days of the next school year.

But, before the realignment process gets rolling, Tucker and the NCHSAA do expect the continuation of conferences with multiple classes.

“I think there could be one, two or three classes within a conference,” Tucker said. “That is to account for geography, especially for the regular season because the regular season is very important to the membership. That’s how they pay bills. When they have to travel a long distance during the regular season, then that’s problematic for them.”

The Task Force Committee also brought forth other realignment recommendations that will have to be voted on by the membership. Those include 24-32-team brackets for the 8A classification, a 32-team bracket for 2A through 7A, a 16-team bracket for 1A and a recommended classification realignment every two years.

The Association also decided that Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Winston-Salem will once again host the men’s and women’s regional and state final rounds in a “Final Four” like atmosphere.

“I thought it was a great environment,” Stephen Gainey, vice president of the Board of Directors, said. “I was excited that the board wanted to keep that idea in place. Obviously, there may be some things that staff will see that needs to be tweaked a little bit.”

Tucker said the format’s biggest complaints were about the service charges inflicted on spectators from the use of Ticketmaster. Chris Blanton, president of the Board of Directors, also said that the move to eight classifications could possibly cause another change to the basketball final four as the NCHSAA would have to run eight state championships within its financial means.

Here are the other actions the Board of Directors took in last week’s meeting:

Review and Officiating

  • Approved rate increases for referees and officials in swimming and diving; junior varsity football playoff contests, first and second rounds
  • Increased registration fees to $40, plus $31 for insurance and background checks for all sports except swimming and diving which will be $30, plus $31 for insurance and background checks.
  • Increased scrimmage fees paid to the assigning officials association for all sports from $28 to $50 per hour.
  • Capped local association and booking fees at $80 for all sports, except football and basketball which were capped at $100.
  • Registration for swimming and diving teams to the NCPrepsSwimming platform will increase from $20 to $30 effective for 2025-2026 school year.
  • Increased the number of umpires in the third round of the baseball and softball playoffs to match the regional and state championship rounds.

Calendar Changes:

  • Late entry deadlines for the individual wrestling tournaments were adjusted to 3 p.m. Monday for the women in the week of the dual team tournament.
  • Dual Team Tennis bracketing will now take place on Friday of Week 9 of the season instead of Monday of Week 10.
  • Indoor Track and Field Championships will be moved to Feb. 14-15, 2025.
  • The first contest date for basketball programs at non-football playing schools is now November 4. However, the six games played before football-playing schools’ first contest date will not be included in RPI rankings as it relates to playoff seeding.


  • Funding for the 2023-2024 education-based grants in the areas of coach’s education and health and safety initiatives, the 50% reimbursement for schools achieving Level 1-3 Honor Roll and individuals achieving CAA or CMAA certifications between March 30, 2023 and March 31, 2024 was approved to be dispersed from the Endowment Fund.
  • Remaining Endowment Fund monies will be transferred to the NCHSAA Foundation, Inc.
  • Changed the playoff ticket revenue share for participating schools and the NCHSAA to comply with the upcoming changes dictated by North Carolina state law.
  • 15% of the first two rounds
  • 20% of the third round
  • 25% of the fourth round
  • 33% of the regional
  • 33% state championships