Tucumcari to appeal proposed move to Class 3A

by Chelle Delaney: Quay County Sun

The Tucumcari School District plans to file an appeal to the New Mexico Athletic Association (NMAA) regarding a proposal to change the sports programs for Tucumcari High School from a 2A program to 3A program for the 2008-2009 school year, said Wayne Ferguson, athletic director for Tucumcari High School.

As a 3A team, Tucumcari sports teams would be playing schools with a larger student population and, most likely, with greater financial resources.

The NMAA’s records show that Tucumcari High School had 321 students for the 2006-2007 school year, compared to 305 students in the 2005-2006 school year, based on a 40-day count, NMAA Communications Director Robert Zayas said.

The new designation would mean an increase in travel budgets for sports teams, Ferguson told the Board of Education on Monday night.

Sports that are most affected are the schools’ football and basketball teams.

As a 2A team, both the girls and boys travel to the same location, generally once a week, on the same day to compete with other schools, Ferguson said.

As a 3A team, the boys team would be competing at one location on one day of the week, while the girls team would be traveling on a different day of the week to another location to compete, he said.

Ferguson also said it meant a different level in competition for the teams.

The proposed changes are part of the NMAA’s two-year review in which it looks at schools enrollments, Zayas said.

Schools normally increase and decrease in enrollment and the association is charged with reviewing student populations at its 158-member schools so that competition among the classifications are equitable and fair, Zayas said.
Officials from Tucumcari School District and the other school districts will meet on Feb. 11-12 in Albuquerque with the NMAA’s Alignment and Classification Committee to discuss, as well as appeal, the proposed changes, Zayas said.
Then on Feb. 28, the NMAA Commission will be presented with a tentative alignment, Zayas said.

However, whatever system is decided on “will not be voted on and approved until September 2007,” he said.
Schools from across the state have already voiced concerns over the proposed changes for reasons that range from missing school time, budgets, the degree of competition in a district and other reasons, Zayas said.

“Nothing is set in stone,” Zayas said. “There are several other proposals that could come out over the course of the nine months. It’s one of the more challenging things the association is charged with doing every two years. We work to make it as fair as possible and to have all involved.”

The NMAA’s District classifications are based on the following number of students at a school:
• 3A: 300 to 700 students
• 2A: 135 to 260
• 1A: 21 to 117