In the 2010-12 realignment plan approved Thursday by the Executive Committee of the S.C. High School League, Chapin High found middle ground.
The plan, which will be finalized after the committee has heard all appeals on the matter, puts the Eagles in the Greenville-centered Region 3-3A for football while the rest of the Chapin athletics programs are assigned to the more geographically friendly Columbia-centered Region 5.
The biannual realignment divides the League's more than 200 member schools into classifications and regions for athletic competition.
In a plan approved during a closed session in July, all of Chapin's athletic teams were assigned to Region 3. Athletics director Scott Earley believed that distance-at a minimum of 50 miles one-way-would have financially handicapped the department. The travel time for weekday competitions would also have been detrimental to student-athletes.
"When something like this happens, you've got to find a compromise and meet halfway somehow," Earley said. "They did it and felt like it was fair. There were just those two issues that had to be addressed, and this is a way to make it work."
By unanimous vote, the committee approved plans presented by commissioner Jerome Singleton for all four classifications and brought this realignment back on track.
The process took a detour in August after, in preparation for appealing the first approved realignment plan, Chapin's lawyers challenged the Executive Committee's authority to modify the realignment proposal and prompted a meeting of the organization's Legislative Assembly. That body agreed that the committee did not overstep its bounds in changing League staff's proposal, but upon advice of council, Singleton decided it was best to hold the meeting again, this time in open session, before moving further in the process.
In the two weeks since, Singleton said he made changes to the original proposal, "keeping in mind some of the appeals that we had" for that initial plan.
"It was just another way to look at it," he said. "I saw what was coming from those appeals, and it was just prudent for me to make those changes with that knowledge and head some of that off."
In the plan for Class 4A, Spartanburg moves from Region 2 to 3, Dutch Fork, Irmo and Richland Northeast move to Region 4, while South Pointe drops out of that region into Class 3A.
J.L. Mann and Lugoff-Elgin move up to 4A, with the Demons competing in Region 6 for football and Region 4 for all other sports.
In Class 2A, Pelion moves to Region 7, while five other Midlands teams move to Region 2 with Strom Thurmond.
Class A features a nine-team region, in the interest of easing the travel burden for the small schools.
Earley lauded the League's efforts to make the best decision possible.
"In the end, reason won out and I hope it works out that way for everybody else in the state," he said.
Athletics directors were e-mailed copies of the assignments. The appeals hearing is set for Nov. 24.