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Vote count on AAA plan expected in June

by Mitchell Gladstone | April 29, 2021 at 2:28 a.m.

Although Wednesday was the final day for member schools to submit and postmark their votes on the Arkansas Activities Association's Competitive Equity Factor proposal, AAA Board of Directors President Benny Weston said he does not expect the results to be finalized until early June.

The AAA put the Competitive Equity Factor to an immediate vote earlier this month to pre-empt a hearing in the Arkansas General Assembly on a bill that would force the AAA to create separate athletic competitions for public and private schools.

Weston, the superintendent of the Mena School District, explained that with most members of the board busy for the remainder of the academic year, it's unlikely he'll be able to convene and appoint a panel of three board members to count and certify the votes until the AAA Board of Directors meets in Little Rock from June 8-10.

Weston said that formalizing the results of the Competitive Equity Factor vote will be one of the earlier pieces of business during the board's annual meeting.

If the measure is approved, it would go into effect at the start of the 2022-23 academic year -- when the AAA reclassifies all of its member institutions -- and apply only to private schools as a way to level the playing field with specific teams that have sustained a certain level of success over the previous four seasons.

Currently, all private schools are moved up one classification from where their attendance would normally dictate. Under the Competitive Equity Factor, individual teams from private schools would be classified as either "dominant," "competitive" or "non-competitive" based on how many points they have accumulated over the previous four seasons.

One point is awarded for a winning conference record, two points for a playoff victory, three for a state runner-up finish and four for a state championship.

While Weston does not have a feel for how schools statewide voted, he said Mena did support the proposal and. He added that many of the schools in his region also planned to give the Competitive Equity Factor a thumbs-up.

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