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NCHSAA to release ruling on North today

By Steve Huffman
Salisbury Post
SPENCER ó Members of the North Rowan High School athletic community won’t learn until today which conference their teams will be playing in in a couple of years.
The N.C. High School Athletic Association’s realignment committee was to rule Thursday on an appeal by North that dropping the school to 1A status would result in “extreme geographical hardship.”
North’s backers are attempting to get the NCHSAA to allow their teams to “play up” and remain a member of the larger ó and much closer ó Central Carolina 2A Conference.
But Rick Strunk, associate executive director of the NCHSAA, said late Thursday afternoon that ruling on all of the appeals had not been completed. He said school officials would be contacted this morning regarding the results and they’d be posted on the NCHSAA Web site by 3 p.m.
“We’re contacting them all in the morning,” Strunk said of officials at the various schools that filed realignment appeals. “There will be no announcement today.”
As it now stands, beginning in the fall of 2009, North will drop from 2A to 1A status and play in an athletic conference comprised primarily of schools from Chatham, Montgomery and Moore counties.
One of the schools, Chatham Central, is more than 83 miles from North Rowan. North backers say the realignment is absurd and will negatively impact student-athletes at a time when educators are struggling to get the school removed from Gov. Mike Easley’s High School Turnaround Program.
The school was placed on the list due to a high number of students scoring below level on end-of-course tests. Educators say students will miss numerous classes if North is moved to 1A status because they’ll have to leave school early for games at distant fields.
Members of the Rowan-Salisbury Board of Education have weighed in the matter, earlier this week passing a resolution backing North’s efforts to remain in the Central Carolina Conference.
But Strunk questioned earlier in the week if North’s efforts would be well received by realignment committee members. He noted that North’s “extreme geographical hardship” plea isn’t likely to be viewed very sympathetically, considering the school’s location so close to the state’s center.
North’s enrollment is 719. The smallest 2A school in the state is North Johnston with an enrollment of 732.
Contact Steve Huffman at 704-797-4222 or shuffman@salisburypost.com.

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