Bayside Academy, Gulf Shores, Robertsdale on the move in AHSAA’s biennial reclassification

Inspecting realignment’s impact on Baldwin County schools and teams

Sports Editor
Posted 12/18/23

As part of Monday’s biennial reclassification of the Alabama High School Athletic Association, three Baldwin County schools are on the move due to enrollment and three teams will move up …

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Bayside Academy, Gulf Shores, Robertsdale on the move in AHSAA’s biennial reclassification

Inspecting realignment’s impact on Baldwin County schools and teams


As part of Monday’s biennial reclassification of the Alabama High School Athletic Association, three Baldwin County schools are on the move due to enrollment and three teams will move up classifications due to the Competitive Balance Factor. Additionally, two local schools were added to the first girls’ flag football alignment for championship play.

With expanded enrollment, Gulf Shores (681.45 students) climbs from Class 5A to Class 6A where it will take the place of Robertsdale (1,142.50 students) which moves to Class 7A for the 2024-25 and 2025-26 school years. On the other end of the spectrum, Bayside Academy is moving down from Class 4A to Class 3A with 253.8 students.

According to the Alabama High School Football Historical Society, Gulf Shores had 543 students in the previous reclassification, Robertsdale had 1,057 students and Bayside Academy had 291 students.

However, due to the Competitive Balance Factor (CBF), the cross country team and volleyball team at Bayside Academy will take another step up in classification for the next two school years.

Competitive Balance Factor, explained

The CBF tallies points for top postseason finishes where teams get more points the deeper into the playoffs they go. If the team’s point total, including an applicable a 1.35 enrollment multiplier for private schools, exceeds a certain threshold then the team will move up a classification in just that sport while the rest of the school’s athletic programs will remain at the regular enrollment alignment.

The Admiral cross country team, Red Map winners from the 2023 women’s state championship, will move up to Class 6A and the volleyball team, which won a state title then finished as runners-up in its two seasons in Class 6A, takes the last step and will play at the Class 7A level. Bayside Academy had previously been promoted classifications due to the CBF during its 21-year state championship streak.

Similarly, the cross country team from Bayshore Christian School will also take a step up from Class 3A to Class 4A after three consecutive state titles.

Foley, Robertsdale added to flag football mix

After girls’ flag football was sanctioned for championship play this past fall, the sport was officially aligned with the rest of AHSAA’s fall sports and will be an official sport starting with the newest reclassification.

Baldwin County and Daphne debuted teams on the Class 6A-7A stage this past season and they will be joined by teams from Foley and Robertsdale in creating Area 2. Dothan and Enterprise will also join the group and fight for top spots and playoff positioning. No other local teams were included on the Class 1A-5A circuit.

The rest of the fall sports regions were also announced after their championships concluded. The winter and spring regions will be released at the end of their respective seasons.

Football regions

Also at Bayshore Christian School, the Eagles will be set for their first varsity football season on the Class 2A stage which will give Baldwin County a football representative in all but one of the seven classifications in the AHSAA. Bayshore Christian will join Hayneville Central, Chickasaw, Clarke County, J.U. Blacksher, St. Luke’s Episcopal and Washington County in Region 1.

On the Class 3A circuit, Bayside Academy joins Cottage Hill Christian, Excel, Flomaton, Hillcrest Evergreen and Monroe County in creating Region 1. The Admirals will also be accompanied by T.R. Miller which most recently served as a region foe in Class 4A.

Going up to help Orange Beach and St. Michael Catholic create Class 4A Region 1 for the next two seasons will be W.S. Neal and Mobile Christian, the latter of which will be coming off a state title in 3A. Other teams remaining in the group include Escambia County, Jackson and Satsuma.

With Gulf Shores’ departure, Elberta will be the only Baldwin County team in Class 5A Region 1 which will remain otherwise unchanged with B.C. Rain, Citronelle, Faith Academy, LeFlore, UMS-Wright, Vigor and Williamson.

Class 6A Region 1 remains a nine-team group with the addition of the Class 5A champion Dolphins and the loss of Robertsdale to Class 7A. Baldwin County and Spanish Fort will join Gulf Shores in competing against Mobile teams the likes of Mattie T. Blount, Murphy, Saraland and Theodore.

With the Golden Bears’ addition, Robertsdale joins Daphne, Fairhope and Foley in squaring off with Class 7A Region 1 teams across the bay including Alma-Bryant, Baker, Davidson and Mary G. Montgomery.

Head football coaching vacancies remain at Robertsdale, Baldwin County and Orange Beach.

Volleyball regions

With Bayside Academy stepping up to join Class 7A, the Admirals will branch off with Fairhope, Foley and Robertsdale to create an all-Baldwin Area 3. Daphne will remain in a three-team Area 2 with Davidson and McGill-Toolen.

Cross country regions

Bayshore Christian, Orange Beach and St. Michael Catholic will be the new Baldwin County representatives in Class 4A Section 1.

Elberta will be the lone local team in Class 5A Section 1, where Class 6A Section 1 will feature Baldwin County, Bayside Academy, Gulf Shores and Spanish Fort locally. Daphne, Fairhope, Foley and Robertsdale are Baldwin’s teams in Class 7A Section 1.

Swimming and Diving regions

Local competitors will remain unchanged due to the CBF. Only Gulf Shores will move up from Class 1A-5A to Class 6A-7A due to enrollment.

More on reclassification, via AHSAA

Classification is based on Average Daily Membership (ADM) figures furnished by the State Department of Education for public schools for grades 9 through 11 plus eighth-grade hold-back students.

Member private schools report that same data directly to the AHSAA. An index of 1.35 is used to determine the enrollment figure for classifying private school members. Each private school student counts 1.35 for classification purposes. A competitive balance success factor is also applied to private school sports teams which affects approximately 10% of private school teams.

Reclassification, according to the AHSAA Constitution and By-Laws, is conducted every two years by the AHSAA Central Board of Control.

“This new classification and fall sport recommendations came after many hours of study and discussion. Everyone involved gave of their valuable time to evaluate our classification system thoroughly and provided input in ways to improve that system,” said Central Board of Control president Mike Welsh, Superintendent of Cherokee County Schools. “On behalf of the Central Board of Control and our member schools, I want to thank AHSAA staff for their hard work. I also want to thank our Central Board for their commitment to making decisions that are best for all of our member schools.”

The 2024-25 and 25-26 football alignment places the 32 largest high schools in Class 7A with 57 in Class 6A, 56 in Class 5A, 62 in Class 4A, 60 in Class 3A, 60 in Class 2A, and 62 in Class 1A.

“More than 190,000 student-athletes are expected to participate in AHSAA sports activities during the upcoming classification period,” AHSAA Executive Director Alvin Briggs.

“I want to thank the Central Board and AHSAA staff for their dedicated efforts,” Briggs added. “As always, it was a difficult job, but everyone worked together to find the best solution as we move forward.”