Pike Lib moves to AHSAA starting in 2022-23
MONTGOMERY, AL – The Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) Central Board of Control (CBOC) approved Pike Liberal Arts School of Troy for membership and also approved several changes recommended by the Championship Committee Wednesday at its April meeting of the CBOC held at the AHSAA Office. The Board also accepted the resignations of Board president Van Phillips and vice president Farrell Seymore and elected new officers for the 2022-23 school year.
The Legislative Council also met and passed one of the more than 30 proposals submitted by member schools at its April meeting Wednesday afternoon.
The Central Board approved the membership request of Pike Liberal Arts School in Troy – beginning next school year. However, the school’s football program will not be eligible for championship play for two years. Pike Liberal Arts Board chairman John Ramage spoke to the CBOC on behalf of the Troy private school. Due to the timing of the school’s application, Pike Liberal Arts’ football program will not be eligible for championship play until the 2024-25 school year. All other sports teams will be eligible in 2022-23, however.
Pike athletic director Rush Hixon said his football program has already lined up 10 games with AHSAA or NFHS member schools for next season.
CBOC president Phillips stepped down from his position on the Central Board after recently retiring as principal at Center Point High School in Jefferson County. Seymore, the principal at Opelika High School, was promoted to Superintendent of Opelika City Schools March 30. While he will remain on the CBOC, he resigned his vice president position due to the time restraints of his new position at Opelika.
Mike Welsh, Superintendent of Cherokee County Schools, was elected president, and Jamie Chapman, Superintendent of Pickens County Schools, was elected vice president.
“We can’t thank Mr. Phillips enough for his service to the AHSAA and its member schools,” said AHSAA Executive Director Alvin Briggs. “We wish him the best in his retirement. We also thank Mr. Seymore for his leadership and commitment to remaining on the Central Board as he takes on his new role as Opelika’s Superintendent of Schools.”
Phillips said serving on the CBOC has been a highlight of his career. “I was a student-athlete in the AHSAA, served as a teacher, coach and principal,” he said. “Having the opportunity to serve on the Central Board and serve as president of this important board is something I will always remember and cherish.”
In related news, AHSAA Assistant Director Jamie Lee told the Board he would be leaving his position next month to become the Director of Parks and Leisure for the City of Vestavia Hills. Lee, who was a teacher and basketball coach for 22 years before joining the AHSAA Executive Staff in 2017, has served in several capacities at the AHSAA over the last five years. He came in as Director of the Alabama High School Athletic Directors & Coaches Association, and has been serving Assistant Director in charge of the sport of basketball among other sports. More recently, his role expanded to working with all championship events.
“His leadership and positive impact has made a major difference for all our member schools,” said Briggs. “While we wish him well in his new endeavor, we want him to know just how much we are going to miss him.”
The Central Board, at the recommendation of the Championship Committee, approved some changes for the sports of baseball, softball, soccer, football and bowling, beginning in the 2022-23 school year.
Baseball: Schools will change from competing in area play to region play with the top four teams advancing to the state playoffs. Currently, schools compete in area play with the top two teams advancing to the post-season.
Softball: Beginning in the 202-23 school year, softball teams will switch from area play to region play. The top four teams in the region standings will advance to the Softball Regional Tournament. Currently, softball teams play area tournaments at the end of the season with the winner and runner-up advancing to the Regional Tourney.
Soccer: All soccer divisions will begin competing in regions in 2022-23 with the top four teams in the region rankings advancing to the state playoffs. Currently, soccer advances two teams out of each area in Classes 7A, 6A, 4A/5A and 1A/3A.
Football: Approved an NFHS recommendation to extend the team boxes on the sidelines from each 20-yard line. The team boxes on each sideline extended from the 25-yard lines in the 2021 season.
Bowling: Regular season matches will include one traditional round and three Baker matches beginning next season. Matches were the best 4-of-7 Baker matches last season.
The Legislative Council passed Proposal 19, which changes Section 21 of the Summer Practice Rule concerning summer practice competition. The change omits the word “in-state” in item 2 concerning attending college or university camps.
The rule change, found on page 55 of the current AHSAA 2021-22 Handbook, will now read: Outside the allowable three weeks, a school team may choose to participate two days (TOTAL) at a college or university camp.
No other proposals received the required two/thirds vote (22 of 32) Wednesday.
The Central Board also approved the 2021 Super 7 football audit; and 2022 financial reports for region and state bowling; duals, section and state wrestling; indoor track; Alabama-Mississippi All-Star basketball; and the 2021 football playoffs presented by AHSAA CFO Amy Gulledge.
The Board also received an update concerning basketball and future regional site possibilities.