Knoxville schools Grace Christian Academy and Concord Christian will head to Division II while defending Class 4A state champion Knoxville Catholic will stay in DI for the next classification cycle in 2017-20.

Grace announced their intention to the families at GCA through a parent email, while Concord Christian Head football coach Troy Fleming confirmed the move for the Lions.

“We are excited about our move to Division II. We look forward to offering kids the opportunity to receive a Christ centered education and an athletic opportunity to be coached by the best staff in Tennessee,” Fleming said.

Grace and Concord Christian join a growing list of private schools opting to join Division II as Boyd Buchanan, Christian Academy of Knoxville (CAK), Christ Presbyterian Academy (CPA), Chattanooga Christian, Chattanooga Grace, Franklin Grace, Goodpasture, Jackson Christian, Lipscomb Academy, Nashville Christian and Silverdale have already declared for Division II.

“Had the Board of Control taken the recommendation of the DII committee, we would definitely be going to DII,” Catholic President Dickie Sompayrac said in a press release “But right now, from an academic and financial standpoint, it simply makes no sense for Knoxville Catholic to move to Division II.”

“We would not mind having to play in DII-AAA for the playoffs, but the reality of having no teams in our district under 100 miles away is simply not feasible,” Sompayrac said. “Imagine having to drive to Nashville during the week to play basketball, volleyball or run a cross country meet. At the end of the day, it would be bad for our students and bad for the school.”

With Knoxville Catholic staying Division I, they join a small list of schools being Clarksville Academy, Columbia Academy, Franklin Grace and Trinity Christian as private schools that will remain in Division I.

Catholic will wait to see where they fall but their enrollment of 619 when multiplied by the 1.8 multiplier would spike the number to 1,114 might push the Fighting Irish to Class 5A or they might be the biggest 4A school in the state.

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