Niles returning to Class B

Published 12:01 pm Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Niles is returning to Class B for boys and girls basketball, as well as volleyball.

The Michigan High School Athletic Association released its annual enrollment numbers Monday afternoon and Niles will be dropping from Class A to Class B, while arch rival and SMAC West Division foe Lakeshore will be moving up to Class A from Class B for the 2017-18 school year.

“After hosting the Class A boys basketball districts and playing against Kalamazoo Central (a school with enrollment just about double our count) it will be a nice change of pace to play in Class B,” said Niles Athletic Director Jeff Upton. “Our senior class was large last year and now our school has four equal classes in our high school.  It would appear to me that our count is fairly stable at the current time. The MHSAA letter classifications only affect basketball and volleyball tournaments.”

Classifications for the 2017-18 school year are based on second semester student count data. That count came on Feb. 8 and may be different from what a school district may submit for school aid purposes.

Once the enrollment figures are received, the MHSAA ranks schools according to those figures for the purpose of dividing them into four equal classes as possible.

For the 2017-18 school year, schools with enrollments of 881 or more students will be in Class A, 406 to 880 students will be in Class B, 204 to 405 students will be in Class C and schools with 203 students or less will be in Class D.

The new enrollment figures moved 21 schools up a class and 24 down a class for 2017-18.

School districts have an option to move into a higher classifications for a minimum of two years, but must do so by April 15 for fall sports, Aug. 15 for winter sports and Oct. 15 for spring sports.

Another SMAC member, Battle Creek Harper Creek, is moving up to Class A from Class B.

“We will still compete in our SMAC conference against the Class A competition,” Upton said. “We look forward to competing in the MHSAA tournaments each year regardless of the draw and the teams we face. I have confidence that our coaches will have our student athletes prepared to compete in the tournaments, and look forward to having districts with our local teams.”

Marcellus, in Cass County, and Mendon, a member of the BCS Athletic Conference through the end of this school year, are both moving up from Class D to Class C.