EAST TEXAS (KTRE) - Football season is winding down but we are already getting our first look at what next year could offer.
Wednesday morning, the University Interscholastic League released their realignment numbers for all events. The new alignments will take effect starting next year and run through 2020.
The conference cutoff numbers provide the range of enrollment for each of the six conferences, including divisional cutoffs for football.
Big changes include Lufkin moving down to the newly created Class 5A Division I.
Lufkin turned in an enrollment number of 2158. Lufkin's rival John Tyler will also be making the move to 5A DI, while Longview and Tyler Lee will stay up at the 6A level.
1A – 5A Football Division I and Division II Numbers
5A Division I 1840 – 2189 126 schools
5A Division II 1150 – 1839 127 schools
4A Division I 790 – 1149 93 schools
4A Division II 505 – 789 90 schools
3A Division I 335 – 504 106 schools
3A Division II 225 – 334 105 schools
2A Division I 161.5 – 224 94 schools
2A Division II 105 – 161.4 93 schools
1A Division I 55.5 – 104.9 73 schools
1A Division II 55 and below 69 schools
6A 2190 and above 253 schools (Basketball); 252 schools (Football)
5A 1150 – 2189 254 schools (Basketball); 253 schools (Football)
4A 505 – 1149 191 schools (Basketball); 183 schools (Football)
3A 225 – 504 232 schools (Basketball); 211 schools (Football)
2A 105 – 224 198 schools (Basketball); 187 schools (Football)
1A 104.9 and below 211 schools (Basketball); 142 schools (Football)
Through speculation, Lufkin has known for several weeks that they could be dropping down. It was the last thing on head Coach Todd Quick's mind when asked this morning about the news. His Panthers are preparing to take on Longview this Saturday for a chance to go to the state semi-finals.
"We have a lot going on right now and that number effects us next year," Coach Todd Quick said. "We are getting ready for our state quarterfinal game against Longview on Saturday. There is nothing we can really do about it. We will get through Christmas and then come back after the break and start making plans on what we might be doing next year."
With changes in the way 5A is done, Lufkin will not be put in a district with Nacogdoches. Nacogdoches will be in 5A DII.
"We felt like that is where we are going to be," Coach Bobby Reyes said. "Our question now is do we stay in East Texas or do they send us south like they have with Lufkin. We hope they keep us in East Texas because of travel. If they send us south we could go to Houston or College Station. We hope they keep us in East Texas. We will play in that spot and get after it where we need to."
Reyes knows people would like to see the two schools together again but he believes the UIL did right by dividing the classification.
"It is a fair situation," Reyes said. "It is good for schools on the smaller end. You might have 1,100 kids and playing schools with 2,100 kids. I think it is a much fairer situation for the bottom end schools."
In their release, the UIL stated that new districts will be announced on Feb.1, 2018, for football and other sports will follow soon after.