Memo to the area's athletic directors and coaches:
When the Florida High School Athletic Association unveils its new district classifications some time this school year, take a long look at where your school has been slotted. You better like it, because if not, your unhappiness will last twice as long as before.
The FHSAA has decided its new reclassification cycle will last four years instead of the standard two. Four years - that's an entire graduating class.
When it came to slotting teams in certain districts, it was always about business with the FHSAA. The association admittedly cared less about rivals and more about trying to match like-sized foes. That's why Class 2A Bradenton Christian is playing five district games this fall, while Class 3A Out-of-Academy plays two.
Never miss a local story.
This decision isn't any different. Corey Sobers, the association's spokesman, said part of the reasoning was deeper rivalries will develop if teams spending four years duking it out for championships and region berths rather than two.
But had enrollment not cooperated, this probably never would have happened.
"The other piece to this is that at the beginning of the millennium, there was such rapid growth in student enrollment from year to year that it was necessary to reclassify every two years," Sobers said. "Enrollment has stabilized over the past four years, so this is something that makes sense now."
The fallout will be very interesting. The Sunshine State Athletic Conference, an independent football league home to 27 teams, including Saint Stephen's, has experienced rapid growth over the past few years with schools unhappy about the lot of district opponents sprinkled on their schedules.
A fresh reclassification gives teams another chance to get back into the FHSAA -- and by doing so, compete for district, region and state titles. But schools that still aren't pleased may stay independent, and maybe even more teams will go that route considering schools are locked into district assignments twice as long as before.
Sobers said the FHSAA was driving for consistency with this measure, giving teams a chance to stay put rather than finally getting to know their opponents and being thrown into another district with another set of coaches and players they know little about.
That probably will happen.
But the best part of all this, however, is the effect it may have on the typically drab appeals process. Maybe one local team would appeal in the past, or maybe even two.
Faced with four years of life in the same district may change all that.
So take a long, hard look, athletic directors and coaches.
Your displeasure -- or pleasure, of course -- will now last twice as long as before.
John Lembo, Herald sports writer, can be reached at 941-745-7057. Follow him on Twitter @JohnLembo1878.