High School Sports

Chapin, Lugoff pose realignment opposition

Chapin and Lugoff-Elgin believe they are being asked to pay high prices, both economically and in student comfort, to make the S.C High School League's proposed realignment work.

They are among nine schools statewide appealing before the SCHSL executive committee Tuesday, when region alignments for 2010-2012 will be finalized.

In the current proposal, Chapin would play in Region 3-3A with Blue Ridge, Chapman, Clinton, Greer and Union County.

The Eagles shortest trip would be 52 miles to Union. Trips to Greer, Blue Ridge and Chapman would each be around 85 miles.

For Friday night football, that is not as much of a burden. But Chapin athletics director and football coach Scott Earley is concerned about sports that play weeknight events with kids facing homework and school the next morning.

"We'll have basketball teams getting home at 1 in the morning," Earley said.

Fuel costs are also a factor. Earley said it would cost the school $480 round-trip for games in the Greenville-Spartanburg area with Chapman, Greer and Blue Ridge.

During Chapin's hearing Tuesday morning, Early said school officials plan to argue both points while presenting a plan to keep Chapin in the Midlands for all sports but football.

"We're going to attack the transportation and academic issues, which are two biggest issues we're facing," Earley said.

Chapin is willing to stay with the Upstate teams for football, but will ask to be placed in a region with Columbia-area schools such as A.C. Flora, Airport, Brookland-Cayce, Dreher, Lower Richland for all other sports.

The move would not be without precedent. Lugoff-Elgin (Class 4A) and Baptist Hill (Class A) would be in similar situations to what Chapin proposes under the SCHSL's current lineup.

Chapin's appeal hearing is scheduled for 11:20 a.m. Tuesday. Lugoff-Elgin is scheduled to go next, where it will argue against the dual-region situation it has been given.

Under the current proposal, Lugoff-Elgin would play football in Region 6-4A. The Demons' would have trips of at least 117 miles to Carolina Forest and Conway.

But the Demons are set to play all other sports in Region 4 with Midlands schools Blythewood, Spring Valley, Ridge View, Richland Northeast, Irmo and Dutch Fork.

The longest trips are around 35 miles to Irmo and Dutch Fork. The four Richland 2 schools are within 15 miles of Lugoff-Elgin High.

While Lugoff-Elgin athletics director and football coach Scott Jones appreciates that the league took his non-football athletes into consideration, he still insists the long trips for football are difficult, in particular ninth-grade and junior varsity teams that play on Thursday nights.

"They'll have to go two hours and 45 minutes each way," Jones said.

Lugoff-Elgin hopes to benefit from a plan to be presented by Lancaster High that affects four regions.

The idea would have Lugoff-Elgin with Spring Valley, RNE, Ridge View, Blythewood and Dutch Fork for all its sports. Irmo would move to Region 5 with Lexington and White Knoll, among others.

Upstate Regions 2 and 3, featuring teams from Spartanburg to Lancaster, would also shuffle teams to ease travel.

The SCHSL executive committee, comprised of principals, superintendents, athletics directors and other administrators, will decide on any changes to the realignment plan SCHSL commissioner Jerome Singleton and his staff completed in July.

Realignment will take effect beginning in fall 2010.