The decision comes with only nine schools in Maine with enrollments larger than 1,000 students, and 75 percent of schools under 500. The hope is that reclassification will result in more fair and competitive schedules for teams, based on school size. However, that could affect some rivalries based on geography.
Brewer is one of the schools most affected in the North region, moving from Class A to Class B in several sports including basketball, soccer, and baseball.
Athletic Director David Utterback praised the decision on a competition level, as the Witches have routinely been matched up with schools almost twice their size. However, the switch from playing a schedule heavy with Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference opponents to one with more Penobscot Valley Conference schools could make it a little more difficult to continue their biggest rivalries.
"It's no guarantee that we will get Hampden and Bangor in our schedules in the Class B set-up," he said. "We have made that request to try and keep them on our schedules. Those are games that are very important to all the communities involved, not just to Bangor and Hampden, but even in the surrounding area."
In addition to those changes, there have been plenty of alterations to the football classes as well, but mostly in the lower classes.
With new enrollment cut-offs, Nokomis and Gardiner move down from Class B into Class C. Also moving into Class C is Maine Central Institute, fresh off a state championship in Class D. Perrenial Class C power Winslow technically would now fall into the enrollment size of a Class D school, but the Black Raiders are expected to petition to stay in the higher class for football.
Foxcroft Academy and Ellsworth will also move classes, as both now qualify to be Class D schools in football.
In addition to that movement, one of the main areas of focus was the addition of a brand new class.
Class E will represent an opportunity for school in the developmental stages of building their football programs to play a full varsity schedule. These teams, including Camden Hills, can play schools from other classes, but will not play for a state championship after the regular season.
Finally, the MPA approved the appointment of Hampden Academy Athletic Director Michael Bisson to the executive board. Bisson will replace Gerald Durgin as Assistant Executive Director following the latter's retirement. He said he's excited to start the job this summer, but is thankful for his time at Hampden Academy.
"I wouldn't have had this position without Hampden Academy and the people in it," he said. "The kids are second to none. I've learned so much, and being able to host all the championships that we do with this facility has put me in a really good position for this job."
Bisson leaves Hampden after five years on the job, and will be in charge of new full-time tasks involving multiple committees within the MPA.