ROCKPORT — While the Maine Principals’ Association approved the expansion of high school basketball to five classes from four at Thursday’s annual meeting at Samoset Resort, the group also approved a handful of other changes to the high school athletic landscape.

All were passed without discussion.

• The commitment to apply to a higher classification was cut from four years to two. The move makes it easier for MPA sports committees to track petitions through each two year cycle. It also makes it possible for Biddeford, which agreed two years ago to a four year commitment to play in Class A football, to play in Class B, where the school’s enrollment would place the Tigers.

• Cooperative teams will be allowed in all sports. Currently, cooperative teams in which athletes from two or more schools play as a combined team are not allowed in sports in which a student can win an individual title, including track and field, swimming, golf, cross country and skiing.

The new rule will allow athletes from schools with inadequate numbers in these sports to field teams.

• Schools with 40 or fewer students of a gender will be allowed to use eighth graders if necessary to fill out a team.

This change lowers the cutoff from 60 students of a gender. Schools are still not allowed to use eighth graders as a replacement for eligible athletes in grades 9-12.

• The Heal point differential moves from five points to two.

This move was made to encourage crossover games between divisions. For sports with three divisions, points will be worth the following: A-40, B-38, C-36. In sports with four divisions, D will be worth 34. In basketball’s five division format, AA will be worth 40, A-38, B-36, C-34, and D-32.

Currently, Class A wins are worth 40 points, B-35, C-30 and D-25.

• Regions will go from East and West to North and South. As the statewide enrollment numbers have changed, the East/West line has moved south, and this change reflects that.

• Due to a low number of teams, wrestling and Alpine skiing dropped from three classes to two.

In wrestling, Class A will be schools with enrollment of 575 or higher. In Alpine skiing, Class A will be schools of 500 students or more.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

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