Written by Corbett Smith
Defending Class 1A Division I basketball champs Triple A Academy moving to 3A this season
In an unprecedented move, the UIL's state executive committee has granted a request by Dallas' Triple A Academy - the defending Class 1A Division I champion - to move up two classifications and compete in Class 3A in boys basketball this season.
"It was challenging, but they accepted it," Triple A Academy founder Leroy McClure said of his school's request.
According to McClure and UIL athletic director Mark Cousins, certain members of the state executive committee wanted Triple A to move their girls basketball program into 3A as well. Triple A's girls team made the state tournament last season, falling to eventual runners-up Smyer in the semifinals, 40-36. The committee split their vote, 2-2, requiring the SEC chair to make the final decision. He voted in favor of allowing Triple A to move up in boys basketball only.
"There's was discussion about that issue, but ultimately, the committee had to vote on a specific interpretation as it was presented," Cousins said.
Cousins said that, to his knowledge, Triple A is the first team ever to skip up two classifications at their own request. During alignment years, teams occasionally request that the UIL put them in a higher classification, in order to stay with teams from their same school district. For example, Lincoln's administration requested that it be stay in 4A in the 2012-14 alignment, despite 3A enrollment numbers.
On Tuesday, McClure chose not to elucidate his reasoning to move his boys program up; he will host a press conference Wednesday, laying out the case he presented to the UIL.
The boys team cruised to a state title without a single senior on the roster and missing their best player, King McClure - son of the school's founder, for the playoffs. All three players who made the all-tournament team are back, including senior Jeremiah Jefferson, the 1A Division I state MVP.
The team will be placed in District 11-3A -- ironically, sliding into a vacancy created when Prime Prep Academy withdrew from UIL competition last fall. Cousins said that once the decision was made that Triple A Academy would move into 3A, their district seeding "was based on geography."
It should be a significant step up in competition for Triple A; defending Class 3A champ Madison is in 11-3A.