Athletic Directors from area high schools discuss realignment and its challenges for the coming year.

Peters: We in Triple-A brought up at one point to let's delay it, not rush it, and get away from the emergency legislation and let people digest what's going on.

Barner: If you remember they tried to do this eight years ago, and the reason that it did not pass is that nobody wanted to break up their district. So what they did (this time) is tell us you don't have to break up your districts, but they know darn well that's going to happen.

DP: Along that line. Do you feel that the VHSL could've done this realignment, kept the districts intact without conferences, and found a way to seed and bracket people into the regionals?

Peters: They could've done it without the conferences, because they're doing it for football (in Groups 1-4, where seeding is mostly done on the regional level) right now. They have six classifications set up right now, and they've could've done it for every other sport.

Barner: Surely some guy who runs those (VHSL) computers could've come up with something where you put the scores in the next day and (seeding or bracketing) points (for regional play) are (calculated) in there.

DP: So how did this get passed?

All: Emergency legislation. (The executive committee voted 23-3 in favor of the reorganization.)

The executive committee has 33 members, including includes principals, superintendents, one private citizen, two General Assembly members and a representative of the state department of education and the Virginia School Boards Association).

DP: Which means it didn't go through membership?

Peters: It did come up before the general membership in October. It did do that. But by that time everybody was so confused.

Price: And it took 66 percent to overturn.

In the October vote, only 37 percent voted to overturn it.

Barner: Triple-A wanted to overturn it. Single-A did not. It came down to Double-A. We went into the meeting figuring it would be close, but it wasn't. The Bay Rivers District voted like Triple-A did, and a couple others like Powhatan, Courtland, Chancellor, James Monroe, voted (with us).

Bennett: But the Roanoke area and the western part of the state, the Double-As, offset (that).

Peters: Almost 70 percent of the student body is in Triple-A schools. We get one vote. There's a school that has 130 students in it. They get one vote just like West Springfield in Northern Virginia, which has 3,600 students.

The smallest VHSL school, with 67 students, is Highland. The largest is T.C. Williams with 2,906.

Barner: One of the things that has really changed in the last seven years, everything once upon a time in meetings was a paddle vote. You'd get these paddles and you'd hold them up. There are very, very, very few paddle votes anymore. What's happens is, the executive committee gets together and kind of dictates.

Peters: You have superintendents on the executive committee, and some of them are clueless when it comes to athletics. That's what they have athletic people for.

Barner: And if you're (VHSL executive director) Ken Tilley, you're going to that meeting and you'll give them all the reasons why it will work — fairness and size of play, all those things. And they say, yeah. Then they hand it to you — they already had a vote — and you don't have time to do anything. And it's over. It's done.

Why did the realignment pass?