Players from the Ellsworth and Orono boys' basketball teams battle over the ball at the Cross Insurance Center during the Boys Class B North final between Orono and Ellsworth, Feb. 26, 2022. Credit: Sawyer Loftus / BDN

A month after the Maine Principals’ Association’s classification committee rejected a new five-class basketball proposal, it met with three representatives of the MPA’s basketball committee Tuesday to discuss a new basketball classification proposal.

After a two-and-a-half hour executive session, two motions were put forth. One proposal was for four classes and one for five, with both proposals allowing schools with a 25 percent win percentage or less over the last five years to petition to move down a class.

The proposals also would allow boys and girls teams to move down independently from one another.

The committee reclassifies high school basketball every two years. The current five-class system was implemented in 2016.

The next meeting is scheduled for March 6, MPA Assistant Executive Director Mike Bisson said. With the regular season ending last week, Bisson said teams will be able to take into account this past season’s data to help construct classification proposals. The data schools will be looking at this classification cycle include each team’s winning percentage during the last five years and four full seasons, starting in 2018-19.

The three members of the basketball committee were Bangor representative Ron Ericson, Augusta representative Ryan Wilkins and Portland representative Eric Curtis.

“We’re talking about uncharted territory outside of football with teams that have a lack of success to be able to move down, and the big part of it is separating boys and girls, which brings scheduling conflicts and so on,” Bisson said. “It wasn’t a unanimous agreement, but we will put proposals together for this committee to take action on.”

Bisson acknowledged that there was not unanimous agreement on the petitioning down qualifications, but likened it to the hesitancy around the proposed eight-man football league at first.

“Any change in these things impacts a lot of communities and it takes us a while to get there,” Bisson said. “When we first introduced eight-man football it took us a number of years before people could be supportive of it.”

During the March 6 meeting, the classification committee hopes to vote on a proposal that can then later reach a vote from athletic directors.

The meeting began with discussions on other sports’ proposals.

Cheerleading was first, and the classification committee approved a proposal to change the number of classes from four to three.

Next the committee changed the enrollment numbers of Class B ice hockey to 0-874 students, making Class A start at 875 students. It also moved the girls ice hockey co-op of Greely and Gray-New Gloucester from the North region to the South in Class A.

The enrollment numbers for Class C tennis was changed to 0-399 students, and MCI and Winslow’s teams will move from Class C North to Class C South.

The committee approved outdoor track and field’s proposal to move Wells from Class B to Class C due to a drop in enrollment.

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Adam Robinson

Adam Robinson is a native of Auburn, Maine, and graduate of Husson University and Edward Little High School. He enjoys sports, going on runs and video games.