For the second time in a week, Richland Northeast was denied its appeal to switch regions under the proposed 2016-18 realignment.
By a vote of 5-2, the seven-member appellate panel upheld the South Carolina Executive Committee ruling to keep Richland Northeast in Region 3-4A for the upcoming realignment. Last week, the SCHSL executive league committed voted 8-7 against RNE moving from 3-4A to 5-4A, but each school got to appeal before the appellate panel if they chose.
RNE wanted to be in Region 5-4A with A.C. Flora, Chapin, Dreher, Lower Richland, Orangeburg-Wilkinson. Instead, the Cavaliers will be in 3-4A with Lancaster, Ridge View, South Pointe, Westwood and York.
“We just didn’t see how it doesn’t make sense to move us to a region that benefits our student-athletes,” RNE athletics director Gary Fulmer said.
Fulmer’s biggest argument for wanting to switch regions was amount of travel and class time missed during region contests. RNE’s average travel time for a Region 3-4A contest would be 46 miles, but it would be just 20 miles if it were in 5-4A.
The appellate panel argued other schools in 4A such as Airport (57 miles) and Union County (55 miles) had farther average distance to travel in their regions, but those schools didn’t appeal.
Plus, they pointed out there were two Midlands schools, Ridge View and Westwood, in the region with RNE. Also, if RNE would have been allowed to move to 5-4A, it would have put 22 teams in the lower state and 20 in the upper state.
“I still can’t be believe class time, instructional time is not as important,” Fulmer said. “But we respect their decision. They have a tough job to do. We will go forward and make it happen, but we’d rather have our kids in class as much as possible.”
Georgetown, Allendale-Fairfax and Southside Christian also made appeals before the appellate panel. Allendale Fairfax and Southside Christian were denied their appeals to move down from Class 2A to Class A.
Georgetown won its appeal, 5-2, to move from the proposed Region 7-3A to Region 6-3A. Their argument was similar to RNE’s because of travel concerns, but one thing that worked in Georgetown’s favor is Waccamaw, the other 3A school in Georgetown County, was in 6-3A. It didn’t offset the balance of having the same amount of upper and lower state teams.
“I think the appeals process works,” SCHSL commissioner Jerome Singleton said. “I don’t get caught up in what decisions are made, but I am impressed that everyone gets their due process.”
With all the appeals heard on realignment, Singleton said the SCHSL can move forward with determining the postseason format and number of football games to be played in the regular season.
Currently, Class 4A — the biggest classification — plays 11 games, while the others play 10 games.
SCHSL 2016-18 Realignment
Class 5A (42 schools)
Region 1: Easley, J.L. Mann, T.L. Hanna, Westside, Woodmont.
Region 2: Greenwood, Hillcrest, Laurens, Mauldin, Riverside, Wade Hampton (G).
Region 3: Boiling Springs, Byrnes, Dorman, Gaffney, Spartanburg.
Region 4: Clover, Fort Mill, Nation Ford, Northwestern, Rock Hill.
Region 5: Blythewood, Dutch Fork, Irmo, Lexington, River Bluff, Spring Valley, White Knoll.
Region 6: Carolina Forest, Conway, Socastee, South Florence, Sumter, West Florence.
Region 7: Ashley Ridge, Fort Dorchester, Goose Creek, James Island, Stratford, Summerville, Wando, West Ashley.
Class 4A (42 schools)
Region 1: Belton-Honea Path, Daniel, Greenville, Pickens, Wren.
Region 2: Blue Ridge, Eastside, Greer, Travelers Rest, Union County.
Region 3: Lancaster, Ridge View, Richland Northeast, South Pointe, Westwood, York.
Region 4: Aiken, Airport, Midland Valley, North Augusta, South Aiken.
Region 5: A.C. Flora, Chapin, Dreher, Lower Richland, Orangeburg-Wilkinson.
Region 6: Crestwood, Darlington, Hartsville, Lakewood, Lugoff-Elgin.
Region 7: Marlboro County, Myrtle Beach, North Myrtle Beach, St. James, Wilson.
Region 8: Beaufort, Berkeley, Cane Bay, Colleton County, Hilton Head, Stall.
Class 3A (44 schools)
Region 1: Crescent, Pendleton, Seneca, Walhalla, West-Oak.
Region 2: Berea, Carolina, Emerald, Palmetto, Powdersville, Southside.
Region 3: Broome, Chapman, Clinton, Mid-Carolina, Newberry, Woodruff.
Region 4: Camden, Chester, Columbia, Fairfield Central, Indian Land.
Region 5: Brookland-Cayce, Edisto, Gilbert, Pelion, Strom Thurmond, Swansea.
Region 6: Aynor, Dillon, Lake City, Loris, Waccamaw, Georgetown
Region 7: Bishop England, Hanahan, Lake Marion, Manning, Timberland.
Region 8: Battery Creek, Bluffton, May River, Ridgeland-Hardeeville, Wade Hampton (H).
Class 2A (44 schools)
Region 1: Blacksburg, Chesnee, Christ Church, Greer Middle College*, Landrum, St. Joseph’s.
Region 2: Abbeville, Brashier Middle College*, Greenville Tech Charter*, Liberty, Ninety-Six, Southside Christian.
Region 3: C.A. Johnson, Eau Claire, Fox Creek, Gray Collegiate, Keenan, Saluda.
Region 4: Andrew Jackson, Buford, Central, Cheraw, Chesterfield, Lee Central, North Central.
Region 5: Allendale-Fairfax, Bamberg-Ehrhardt, Barnwell, Batesburg-Leesville, Calhoun County, Silver Bluff.
Region 6: Academic Magnet, Burke, Garrett, North Charleston, Whale Branch, Woodland.
Region 7: Andrews, Carvers Bay, Johnsonville, Kingstree, Latta, Marion, Mullins.
1A (41 schools)
Region 1: Calhoun Falls, Dixie, High Point Academy*, McCormick, South Carolina School for Deaf and Blind*, Tamassee-Salem*, Ware Shoals, Whitmire.
Region 2: Governor’s School*, Great Falls, Lamar, Lewisville, McBee, Timmonsville.
Region 3: Blackville-Hilda, Denmark-Olar, Estill, Hunter-Kinard-Tyler, North, Ridge Spring-Monetta, Wagener-Salley, Williston-Elko.
Region 4: Baptist Hill, Charleston Charter, Lincoln, Low Country Leadership*, Military Magnet, Palmetto Scholars*, Royal Live Oaks*, St. Johns.
Region 5: Bethune-Bowman, Branchville, C.E. Murray, Cross, Scott’s Branch.
Region 6: Creek Bridge, East Clarendon, Green Sea-Floyds, Hannah-Pamplico, Hemingway, Lake View.
*Doesn’t have football program