How the WI Realignment Plan Might Look in MN

There's a very interesting development going on in Wisconsin right now regarding classification.  The WIAA, Wisconsin's version of the MSHSL, is pushing a new plan for realigning sections based on a rural vs urban model.   Here's a good link to read about the particulars.  Basically it says that small schools based in large population areas will be moved up from the 2 smallest divisions (4 and 5) to division 3 while the 2 largest divisions (1 and 2) remain unchanged.  The definition of large urban area is defined by the US Census with a link in the article.  Basically that's an area of more than 25,000 people.  I decided to play around with it a bit and see what it might look like here in Minnesota. 

Here are the rules, I tried to base it on the Wisconsin stuff but 4 classes instead of 5 complicated it.  So I chose the number 300 as a dividing point since I didn't want the smallest schools to move up more than 1 class.

1) Class AAAA remains unchanged.
2) Schools with an enrollment of over 300 and in an urban area will play no lower than class AAA.
3) Schools with an enrollment of under 300 and in an urban area will play in class AA.
4) Enrollment for co-op programs is the combined enrollment of the schools.
5) Enrollment figures are from the MSHSL website but likely doesn't include free lunch calculations or schools who have the ability to opt down.
6) Opt Up schools not included

Results:
AAAA retains the same 1195+ range and 64 teams

14 schools were urban and had an enrollment of over 300.  They were moved from class AA to class AAA.  They are (in order of enrollment)
St. Cloud Cathedral
Rochester Lourdes
Charter Stars
St. Paul Academy
St Paul Prep/HSRA
Holy Family Catholic
International School/Eagle Ridge
St. Croix Prep
Minnehaha Academy
Brooklyn Center
Southwest Christian
Providence Academy
Spectrum
Hmong Academy

Class AAA expands to 96 teams in an attempt to balance the enrollments.  That's 8 sections of 12 teams so 4 pigtail games in each which I think would be interesting.  Its the next 82 in enrollment after class AAAA plus the mandated 14 teams above.  The 14 teams above are the smallest in the class with Hmong Academy coming in at 307.  But note they play in section 4A right now, so they would likely be AA after adjustments.  St. Croix Lutheran also moves up but they already opted up for this 2 year cycle.  Note that Brooklyn Center with an enrollment of 336 moves up.  Brooklyn Center is the only public school moved under the plan.  In Wisconsin, the Milwaukee area has a number of smaller public schools that move up to Division 3.

Bloomington Kennedy with a listed enrollment of 1290 (meets AAAA criteria but adjusted to AAA) is the largest school.  Fairmont at 464 is the smallest non-adjusted school in the class.  That compares today to a range of 555-1290.  By comparison, Wisconsin leaves their top 2 classes alone and sees a large disparity in the middle class where all the teams are moved to.

Class AA remains at 128 teams.  Its the next 103 schools by enrollment.  Then 25 teams move up from class A, 18 of those are from the metro area.  Mankato Loyola and Lakeview Christian are 2 other notables that move up.  Hope Lutheran is the bad luck draw here with an enrollment of 27 but being in Winona bumps them up.  On the other end, Milaca is the biggest school with an enrollment of 460.  Rushford-Peterson is the smallest school not forced up with an enrollment of 195.  AA today is a range of 204 - 554.  Wisconsin also ends up with the problem of a very tiny private school facing a public school in the 500 enrollment range.

Class A drops to 138 teams.  Largest school is Janesville-Waldorf-Pemberton with an enrollment of 195.  It drops all the way down to Bug-O-Nay-Ge-Shig at 23.  Ellsworth at 40 is the smallest public.  Note that the class still has private schools, some of them with very good basketball histories.  Central Minnesota Christian, SW MN Christian, Hillcrest Lutheran, New Ulm Cathedral, Minnesota Valley Lutheran and Mayer Lutheran remain in class A because they aren't in a big enough urban area.

Now I'm not advocating for the idea or for the exact way I did it.  The splits in AA and AAA aren't all that appealing.  I did try a version where I moved urban schools over 600 to AAAA with 96 teams.  But that made the split between biggest and smallest in AAA even worse.  My point is discussion as private vs public is an issue that has been around forever.  The WIAA proposal is definitely new and worth evaluation and discussion.  One suggestion is a private school federation.  I find that ironic being I grew up with WISAA (the now defunct private school version of WIAA) in Wisconsin and I always complained that I wanted them to prove them were as good as the public schools so be careful what you wish for.  Another option that has come up is a multiplier value to a private school's enrollment.  The methodology here is probably most similar to the idea of bumping all private schools up a class, another popular suggestion.

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