Classification of Schools for NEPSAC Invitational Tournaments
Public school leagues/classes are usually dictated, at least initially, by enrollment, and a school’s schedule of games is then constructed around that information, along with issues such as geographical location. In independent schools, additional factors can influence the placement of a school in a particular sport. For example, not being bound by any rule prohibiting more than four years of varsity competition, schools may have students who repeat grades creating a roster
made up of older, more experienced players.
In 2001, since most athletic directors believed that no finite standards for classification by enrollment was completely fair, NEPSAC President Joe Gill informed all schools that henceforth a new policy would be instituted. What followed was a lengthy process in which each school was given the opportunity to declare what level of play it felt was appropriate for its team in each sport that hosted invitational tournaments. A sub-committee of the NEPSAC Executive Board then considered all requests and forwarded the data to the designated coaches association for confirmation and use in the tournament selection process. Where there was disagreement between the coaches’ group and a school as to placement, the NEPSAC Executive Board would hear all the arguments and make final decisions. In effect, that procedure is still in effect today. It was assumed that most schools would be comfortable in their classification and wish to remain in it for future years. If, however, a school wishes to reclassify itself in a sport, they must make a 3-year commitment to the new classification. In addition to enrollment and geography, amongst the factors that determine a school’s classification are the strength of their schedule and the success they have playing that schedule, league affiliation, the number of players who have repeated a year (including post-graduates), their record against other NEPSAC schools (overall and in their league and/or class), the history of their program in recent years, and various other measurements (e.g. Saylor System).
In order to expedite such a plan, deadlines for classification had to be implemented to allow time
for a school to appeal its placement (by the coaches association) to NEPSAC for a binding decision. Therefore, by season, schools were to be classified for the fall by October 15th.
With the qualifications outlined above, the general guidance for Classes A through D are based on male high school student enrollment levels of their schools, as follows (updated for the 2017-18 season's changes):
Class A is for schools with 230 or more male high school students.
Class B is for schools with 157 to 229 male high school students.
Class C is for schools with 89 to 156 male high school students.
Class D is for schools with 89 or fewer male high school students.