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

Price: In football, why aren't we doing all-district still? That's who we see. In the conference (Conference 2) we're not going to see Oscar Smith, Grassfield and Western Branch, and they're not going to see us.

Barner: All those things are why we'll lose the districts and we'll all lose. It's going to cost us more to travel, cost us more in time of our jobs and the principals' jobs. It's going to take in less money.


DP: Going through the process, how much culture shock has it been meeting up with other districts and regions?

Peters: In our region you have the Bay Rivers District, the Peninsula District and (Richmond area) Central Region. You have three different areas that do things three different ways. Try getting everybody on the same page. We all have to compromise, but sometimes that's harder than it sounds.

Martin: (Among the) logistic issues we have to deal with in the City of Hampton, we've always been able leave whenever we schedule (the teams) do that. In Chesapeake, they have two options: You can leave at a half a day or you can leave at 4 o'clock.

So if you have to leave for a 4:30 baseball game, they have to take a half day off, maybe leave at 12:30 and sit in my auditorium for two hours. Then you have a late storm and then you come back home.

Peters: We're used to playing field hockey games at 4 o'clock. Because of the Suffolk schools we're not starting games until 5:30.

Before, when I played field hockey at Kecoughtan, I was taking JV and varsity on one bus. Now when I play Kings Fork (in Suffolk), I'm going there on one bus and their JV's coming to me.

Barner: You're doubling your buses. Here again you're going to take in less money and the kids are going to be hurt. How much time are kids going to miss class? Park View-South Hill could play a volleyball game at Poquoson on a Tuesday and at York on a Thursday night and not get home until 1:30 in the morning. Kids go to school one day and the next day they have to do it again.

DP: It seems like this all happened so fast. Why, and what would it have done if you could have gotten another year to organize this?

Peters: We asked for more time at the VHSL meetings last October. Our regional chairman got up and said, "Give us time to work on it." And they said, basically, no, you have until June 30.

Martin: We didn't know what questions we would have. A lot of the questions we have now we've found out as we go along, like sharing the same facilities.

DP: You could build a new rivalry, then in two years, it's gone.

The Virginia High School League will realign schools every two years depending on their enrollment.

Peters: I could build a rivalry with Nansemond River in sports because they're in our conference. In two years, that's gone.

Bennett: In two years, they'll look at the ADM (average daily membership) numbers and poof …

DP: Seven conferences (Peninsula and Bay Rivers districts) will be playing their tournaments (at the same time). What will that do to attendance and, for that matter, media coverage?

Barner: Our Bruton (boys basketball tournament) game took in $1,800. That's a good night for a (Group AA) school. You play Colonial Heights and you're not going to get $1,000. And you've got the travel fee you're going to pay.

Martin: It's a regular-season economic issue, too. Unless we make ourselves play each other (twice in basketball) — Hampton, Phoebus, Bethel, Kecoughtan — those are big money makers (for Hampton City Schools), which help fund next year's athletic programs. If we lose that, the school system is losing that money coming in.