North Yarmouth Academy is considering the possibility of asking the Maine Principals’ Association for reclassification of its girls’ basketball team for the 2018-19 season because of the addition of nine players from Maine Girls’ Academy, which closed suddenly in July.

NYA is currently classified as a Class C school. Maine Girls’ Academy, which was a Class C school based on enrollment, petitioned to play in Maine’s highest division – Class AA.

Jack Hardy, NYA’s athletic director, said the school has begun discussions with the MPA to determine whether the Panthers can move to a higher class for just one year. He added that no decision has been made whether to actually ask for reclassification.

Hardy said the school will first hire a new coach, then talk to the coach and players to see if they want to consider a move. Nick Stacey, last year’s head coach, is not returning.

“That decision will be made when I have my coach in place and we can sit down with the kids,” said Hardy.

MPA Executive Director Dick Durost said present policy would require both NYA basketball teams – boys’ and girls’ – to play in the same class and that reclassification would be for “more than one year.”

Regardless of what happens with reclassification, Hardy said the girls’ team will play a stronger schedule this coming season. The Western Maine Conference has agreed to redo its girls’ basketball schedule, allowing the Panthers to play some of the league’s larger schools, such as Greely, York, Yarmouth, Lake Region and Gray-New Gloucester. The WMC boys’ basketball schedule will remain unchanged.

Hardy hopes the new schedule will allow the Panthers to maintain their rivalries with Waynflete, Old Orchard Beach and Traip Academy, but understands that some of the smaller schools on NYA’s schedule, like Pine Tree Academy, Greater Portland Christian and Buckfield, may not want to play a team that has nine former Class AA players.

Hardy said it’s important for the Panthers to get a head coach in place before deciding about reclassification.

“We want to have someone in place who is going to be able to take two programs with their diverse goals and needs and mold them into one and bring them together so that it can be a positive experience for all,” he said.

Former MGA coach Bill Goodman said he has not applied for the position, nor has he had any contact with NYA.

Hardy hopes to have a coach in place by Sept. 7. Then he will talk to the team. “We will have a long conversation with careful consideration,” he said.

He said he hoped a reclassification could be done for only one year because the Panthers will have nine seniors, including five former MGA students.

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