05/10/17 – Board of Control Addresses Championship Sites for Football, Girls’ Basketball, Dance

May 10, 2017 2016-2017 News Releases

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 10, 2017

The Board of Control addressed future locations of the KHSAA state football finals, girls’ basketball Sweet Sixteen®, and Dance during Wednesday’s meeting at the KHSAA offices, awarding championships to Kroger Field, BB&T Arena, Rupp Arena and the new Frederick Douglass High School.

After hearing proposals from representatives of Bowling Green, Highland Heights, and Lexington, the Board authorized the Commissioner to enter into contract negotiations for the 2017 and 2018 State Football Finals with the University of Kentucky to be played at Kroger Field in Lexington. For the last eight years, the football finals were played at Houchens-LT Smith Stadium on the campus of Western Kentucky University, but WKU’s football success within their conference resulted in the order of games being reshuffled at the last minute during each of the last two years due to the C-USA Championship game.

“While we are eternally grateful for the efforts of our tremendous partners, Western Kentucky University, Russell Athletic and the city of Bowling Green, over the last eight years, it cannot be understated that the issues that arose over the last two years were a detriment to our event,” said KHSAA Commissioner Julian Tackett. “This impacted the fan experience, particularly of those teams forced to play late on a Sunday evening, and certainly affected vital revenue to the Association. We are excited about the opportunity provided by the University of Kentucky, which has proven to be an outstanding partner with some of our other championship events, to try and grow the football finals at a more geographically centered location with a pre-determined schedule.”

“We are thrilled to be hosting the best weekend of Kentucky high school football at Kroger Field,” UK Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart said. “We are committed to the growth of the game of football in the Commonwealth and excited to bring thousands of young athletes and fans to our campus and the city of Lexington through this event. Kroger Field will make an excellent home for the Kentucky state football finals.”

The state football finals were last played in Lexington in 1976 at Commonwealth Stadium, after previously calling Stoll Field home from 1959-1966 and 1968-1972.

The Board also addressed the future of the girls’ basketball tournament on Wednesday, electing to return to BB&T Arena for the 2018 Sweet 16® before moving the event to Rupp Arena for 2019 and 2020. The location of the 2020 girls’ basketball tournament included an option to reconsider that year’s tournament award if a corporate title partner cannot be obtained.

“We are very fortunate to be in a position where there are multiple cities competing for the right to host our girls’ basketball tournament, as that has not always been the case,” added Tackett. “BB&T Arena is an outstanding facility and has proven to be a great fit over the last two years. At the same time, the Board recognizes the potential to draw greater audiences by moving the event to a venue like Rupp Arena.”

“The corporate community needs to prove to us that they really want these events here,” Tackett said. “Come forward. We’ve got a full-time marketing person, Leah Little, and she’s more than willing to talk to people.”

The Board also set the inaugural KHSAA State Dance Competition for Saturday, December 16, 2017 at the new Frederick Douglass HS in Lexington. Details about this first competition will be distributed to the member schools in the coming weeks.

“Our membership had indicated a strong desire to begin a Dance competition as our newest sport-activity with the 2017-2018 school year,” said Tackett. “We have been able in the last few days to finalize the scheduling logistics around that competition and utilize this beautiful new school and are grateful for the cooperation of the Fayette County Public Schools and the new athletics staff at the school.” 

In other action Wednesday, the Board:

  • Authorized the Commissioner to begin discussions with the University of Kentucky, Rupp Arena and the Lexington Center, and the Southeastern Conference about the feasibility of moving the boys’ state basketball tournament to the week prior to the girls’ tournament not earlier than 2020, with the data from those discussions to be presented to the Board at a future meeting.
  • Instructed the Commissioner to return to the July meeting with a cross-bracketing table for first round playoff pairings in football classes 2A, 3A and 4A for 2017 and 2018 following a survey of the member schools. Class 1A did not mirror that desire in past surveys of its football-playing schools.
  • Following feedback from member school administrators and coaches, approved a recommendation from the Commissioner, following recommendations from both the Baseball and Softball Advisory Committees, to return the start date in baseball and softball to the Monday following the second state basketball tournament, beginning with the 2018 season.
  • Approved the use of the international tiebreaker for all softball games once the contest reaches the 10th inning, beginning with the 2018 season.
  • Approved draft changes in the competition rules of baseball, basketball, soccer, softball and volleyball to clarify that there is no option to play a consolation game in district tournaments.
  • Directed that the competition rules be amended in baseball, basketball, soccer, softball and volleyball to require a 2/3 majority vote of those currently competing in the district tournament regarding future site selection.
  • Confirmed a recommendation for the Commissioner to propose to the NFHS a rule change requiring the use of a face guard in softball for the first baseman, third baseman and pitcher beginning in 2018.
  • Approved a proposed alignment in Track and Field/Cross Country for distribution in the coming days to the membership for review and consideration for adoption at the July Board of Control meeting.
  • Heard an update from staff on a new agreement with Varsity Brands (UCA), which will have its scoresheets implemented in KHSAA competitive cheer competitions next year.
  • Accepted the report of deficient schools in regards to Girls’ Basketball Prime Date Scheduling and directed penalties be implemented under Bylaw 27.
  • Approved a proposal to increase membership dues for the first time since 1995-96, with the new fee structure to be implemented in the coming school year.
  • Approved an extension of the agreement with Select Sport America for the official ball adoption in Soccer through the 2018-19 academic year.
  • Completed a favorable evaluation of Commissioner Tackett and extended his contract for an additional year through the 2020-2021 school year.

-KHSAA-

About the Kentucky High School Athletic Association
The Kentucky High School Athletic Association was organized in 1917 and is the agency designated by the Kentucky Department of Education to manage high school athletics in the Commonwealth. The Association is a voluntary nonprofit 501(c)3 organization made up of 278 member schools both public and private. The KHSAA sanctions 43 state championships in 13 sports and 4 sport-activities, licenses and trains over 4,000 officials, provides catastrophic insurance for its more than 70,000 member school student-athletes, as well as overseeing coaching education and sports safety programs.