BLUEFIELD — The new classifications for high school basketball beginning with the 2020-21 school year have been announced by the West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission.

There are four classes as WVSSAC is implementing a two-year trial for boys and girls basketball before it considers adding another class for all sports.

In early July the West Virginia State Board of Education approved a proposal to add a Class AAAA and have used this year’s enrollment numbers for each school as of October 1 as part of how the classes are determined. 

The other two factors that were used to set the classes were the location of the school relative to the county seat and a city with a population of more than 10,000 along with the economics of the school. Enrollment was 70 percent of the score each school was given to sort out the classes with location 20 percent and economics 10 percent. 

Bluefield will remain in Class AA while PikeView will move up to AAA. Currently Bluefield, PikeView, River View and James Monroe play in the same section but they will be mostly going separate postseason ways under the new system. 

The Bluefield boys have made the state tournament eight straight times and the girls have been to the state tournament four times in the past five seasons.  

Princeton which is in AAA for all sports will move to AAAA for basketball when the new trial classification starts.

Both James Monroe and River View were already scheduled to drop to Class A for all sports next year and will be there for basketball as well.

 Mount View and Montcalm will remain in Class A . Greater Beckley Christian is also in Class A along with last year’s boys state title winners Webster County.

New sections for the four class system will be announced at a later date. 

Other Class AAAA schools are Oak Hill and Greenbrier East who are both moving up.

There are five schools in Class AAAA, including Princeton, that have lower scores than Winfield which has been placed in Class AAA because schools are only allowed to move up one class every time re-classification is done.

A common opponent in the basketball playoffs for Bluefield is Fairmont Senior but they will be moving up to Class AAA for the 2020-21 school year. 

Remaining in Class AA with Bluefield is Chapmanville who has won the last two boys state titles. 

Class A has 38 schools in it while each of the other three classes contain 29 schools.

The plan will require the expansion of both boys and girls state basketball tournament. As things stand, an additional day of play will be added to the respective state tournament schedules, but all championship games will continue to be played on Saturday.

A stated goal of having four classes is to create more competitive balance for all the schools, specifically in Class A, where private schools have dominated for more than a decade. 

Three of the four teams that made the semifinals in Class A last year will move up to AA next year. They are Wheeling Central, Parkersburg Catholic and Trinity.

— Contact sports@bdtonline.com

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