New Berea Community High School football head coach Aaron Stepp has some thoughts on the school's placement in the latest realignment of schools.
Berea, a Class A program in Madison County, was placed into a district with Frankfort, Eminence and Kentucky Country Day. It is the third time in as many realignments that Berea's entire slate of district opponents has changed. The Pirates in the last alignment were placed with Bishop Brossart, Bracken County, Nicholas County and Paris; in the alignment for the 2011-14 seasons they were placed with Campbellsville, Lynn Camp and Williamsburg.
Stepp provided a "science lesson" in an email sent to coaches across the state as part of a scheduling request for after next season.
"Berea High School is located between the North American tectonic plate and the Caribbean tectonic plate," Stepp wrote. "These plates meet under the Clays Ferry and run through the middle of Madison County. The shifting of these plates causes the constant movement of exit 76 off Interstate I-75.
"This information is scientifically evident by the fact that over the last ten years our district has shifted from the mountain district traveling as far as Campbellsville Ky, to the central Kentucky district traveling to Central Kentucky schools Bracken County and Bishop Brossart to now officially shifting to the Louisville area class A district (sic)."
A screenshot of Stepp's satire quickly made the rounds on social media. In a phone interview with the Herald-Leader he said the best part was clipped off: he provided his signature along with a note calling Berea "the home of the 'perpetually moving' Pirates."
Berea had lobbied to remain in its previous district with Bishop Brossart, Bracken County, Nicholas County and Paris. The Pirates in their new district will have one less guaranteed game and see their cumulative district travel distance decrease from 336 miles to 270 miles.
The KHSAA acknowledges geography and travel as is its primary factors when considering realignment, but Stepp doesn't buy that. It doesn't make sense for Bishop Brossart, he said, to not be in the same district as fellow northern Kentucky schools Bellevue, Dayton, Ludlow and Newport Central Catholic. The KHSAA ideally tries to keep districts to four teams apiece, but 26 of the 48 districts in the new realignment have more than four teams, though none are in Class A.
Paris is closer to the teams in Berea's new district than the Pirates are. If geography mattered, Stepp said, his team would be placed in a district with Lynn Camp and Williamsburg, to whom it's closest along with Paris.
"We want to Jedi mind trick everybody and say, 'Oh no, it's all about geographics.' It's not about geographics," Stepp said. "It's about what's convenient for certain people. That's where it begins and ends. ... I'm not a Rhodes Scholar, but I can look at a map."