Local News

High School Appeals Decision of 3-A Classification

Posted January 21, 2000 6:00 a.m. EST

— The tradition of rivalry with Terry Sanford High School may about to be coming to an end for one Fayetteville high school, but that is not the only thing student athletes say they will be missing if their school is dropped down to a 3-A school.

After 30 years in the 4-A Mid-South Conference, the Golden Bulls are being dropped to 3-A because they missed the enrollment cut-off by fewer than 100 students.

"The community is outraged," says E.E. Smith athletic director Leon Mack. "Initially it was shock but at this point it's outrage. They're ready to circle the wagons and they're ready to put up a real good fight."

The school is appealing the decision. If the 3-A classification sticks, E.E. Smith will no longer play the cross-town Fayetteville rivals. They will travel to places such as Erwin and Durham to compete.

"It would mess up our study habits because our games would be like two and three hours away," says Audly Wehner. "And when we get back we'd have no time to study and catch-up or do our work."

The decision would also hurt student athletes who don't have the money for college.

"When you're playing on 4-A level it's a lot easier to get a scholarship because a lot of scouts and coaches are looking at you because 4-A is the highest level of competition for high school," says Darnell Gregory.

A decision on the school's appeal is expected to be made sometime in March.

"It kind of puts us down like we're not a good enough team to play 4-A, says Jeaniel Pati. "I heard the reason we went down to 3-A is because we didn't have enough people going to this school. I think it's a bad reason to go down to 3-A."