A Glance Into Helena-West Helena Central’s Recent Conference Moves

The Arkansas Activities Association’s board of directors denied Helena-West Helena Central’s appeal Sunday afternoon to remain a member of the 4A-2 Conference during the 2018-20 reclassification cycle.

The AAA board of directors normally meets to hear such appeals just before the AAA holds its annual meeting of the governing body, which takes place at noon Monday in Little Rock.

Central will now move into the 4A-8 Conference for the next two years. The school wanted to remain in the 4A-2 and have Stuttgart make the move to the 4A-8.

From 2000-07, Central remained a member of a Southeast conference (4A-Southeast through 2005, while a classification name change made it 5A in 2006-07). Since that time, the Cougars have moved a lot in various conferences. Why has this happened?

• 2008 — Central was moved from the 5A-Southeast to the 5A-East. Central was coupled with Forrest City, which just moved down from 6A, and it caused North Pulaski and Beebe to go to the 5A-Southeast. Both conferences were tightened in their travel by these moves.

• 2010 — Central moves back to 5A-Southeast along with Watson Chapel, which fell out of 6A. Oddly enough, Beebe moves from Southeast to East to take Central’s spot and LR McClellan moved up from 5A to 6A and took over Watson Chapel’s spot.

• 2012 — Central appeared to be headed to the 5A-East again, but instead Beebe stayed there while Central was moved to the 5A-Central — a conference with seven other schools in Pulaski County. Central appealed the decision but was denied. May have not been the best move, but it happened.

• 2014 — Central’s attendance numbers dwindled to the point it fell to Class 4A status. It was placed in the 4A-2 Conference along with Riverview and Central Arkansas Christian while Pine Bluff Dollarway fell to the 4A-8, Clinton moved to the 4A-4 and Marianna dropped to 3A status.

• 2016 — Central was first headed to the 4A-8, but a successful appeal to the AAA board of directors allowed it to switch places with Pine Bluff Dollarway. Central remained in the 4A-2, while Dollarway remained to the 4A-8.

• 2018 — Central will be moved to the 4A-8 Conference, which needed another team after Dollarway fell to Class 3A. The school appealed again, this time to remain in the 4A-2 while Stuttgart is moved to the 4A-8, but it was denied.

While the move wouldn’t have made significant changes in Central’s travel, switching the two schools would have caused Stuttgart to travel more, as well as the other members in the 4A-2.

Henry Apple

Henry Apple

Henry Apple is a veteran sports reporter for the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. His primary beat is Bentonville and Bentonville West, as well as topics that include state schools and the Arkansas Activities Association. During the spring, he handles high school track in Northwest Arkansas. He is a lifelong Arkansas resident.
Henry Apple

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