Ralph Arza would like the Florida High School Athletic Association to delay the implementation of subway and suburban football classes for a year.
The FHSAA board is meeting Monday in Gainesville and board member Arza proposed an agenda item to “discuss and take action” on the matter.
“Pull it back a year and get feedback from the metropolitan districts and see how they would like to see it broken down,” Arza said Sunday night. “At the end of the day, I want to do what’s good for kids. I don’t think the current system is fair. That’s why I voted to edit it. But when someone says, “We haven’t had a chance to intervene,” that worries me a lot. I just think that’s wrong.
“I want to look at them and say, ‘You have a problem. You have one year to fix it. We’ll see if we have the votes.
The board voted 9-7 on Feb. 28 to divide the state into four metro classes, four suburban classes, and one rural classification.
The four metro classifications include 228 schools from the eight most densely populated counties in the state: Duval, Seminole, Orange, Hillsborough, Pinellas, Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade.
Arza voted in favor of the split but said he would have voted differently if he had known the composition of the Football Advisory Committee.
The FHSAA Football Advisory Committee has voted unanimously for the past two years to divide the state into metro and suburban classes. The FAC includes two members from each of the state’s four regions, one of which is South Florida. Six of the eight coaches currently on the committee come from suburban schools.
“I would have voted differently,” Arza said. “After the vote, I spoke to different people and reached out to different people.”
Over the past 10 years, schools in the metro area have won 89% of state football championships outside of Rural Class 1A. This is due in part to the combination of a larger pool of student-athletes to draw from and the Open Enrollment Act, which has made it easier to transfer students to schools.
Several state coaches — mostly metro areas — have complained on social media about the split since the vote.
Arza acknowledged that part of the frustration of metro area coaches is the simple calculation that there will be fewer state titles up for grabs.
“That’s what I know, every time you change the rules of the game for someone who has taken advantage of it, they’re not going to like it,” he said.
The Palm Beach County School District plans to have a speaker at the board meeting to voice concerns about the metro/suburban separation.
Palm Beach Schools cited several issues at a recent workshop, including diversity, the number of Title 1 schools in metropolitan areas, Title IX concerns, and a potential ripple effect of a similar distribution. adopted in other sports.
The FHSAA board meeting will take place just hours before most teams in the state take to the field for the start of spring training.
The majority of teams have already drawn up football schedules and signed contracts for the 2022-23 school year, based on a division into metro and suburban classes.
It’s unclear how any potential reversal or delay of metro and commuter classes would affect those contracts.
“I’m very concerned about this,” Arza said. “I asked (FHSAA Executive Director) George Tomyn: ‘Should we call an emergency meeting to resolve this issue?’ And he said, ‘No, we can still work it out.'”