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01/13/17 – Board Approves Alternative Region Tournament (Team Sports) and Alignment for Region 15

January 13, 2017


During the course of its regularly scheduled meeting at the KHSAA Offices on Thursday, the Board of Control approved a requested new trial pilot program for the 15th Region Tournament beginning with the 2017-2018 school year. These changes will not be implemented until the 2017-18 school year, and will have no impact on play for the remainder of 2016-2017. This approved pilot project is for the team sports of baseball, basketball, softball and volleyball. The following post includes segments of the press release issued late yesterday afternoon, as well as additional details for 15th Region schools.

Following the consolidation of South Floyd and Allen Central High Schools, changes were needed in the basketball alignment (and subsequently the alignments in baseball, softball and volleyball) for the 15th Region. KHSAA Commissioner Julian Tackett attended a meeting of the Superintendents in the impacted districts on January 9 to review options related to the region. Facing challenges like an imperfect geographically aligned region and a pattern of reduced sport offerings by some schools in the region, there were few obvious non-impactful options available.

With that in mind, the Superintendents expressed an interest in a multi-year pilot program where their teams would play one less regular season game, and then play a modified regional tournament with an extra round. This would result in all teams advancing from the district tournament to the region tournament in those sports, but seeded by regular season play, rankings, voting or other methods to be worked out in future meetings with those schools.

“This pilot program could provide great data for other regions who may face a similar issue in the future with further school consolidations,” said Tackett. “This is something that could potentially be implemented by any region with sixteen-or-fewer teams, and we are eager to monitor its results going forward. With consolidations, declining populations and job losses in many areas, we have to be open to new ideas and I am grateful this group of superintendents stepped forward with their request.

“This also has the added benefit of de-pressurizing discussions around district alignment due to the fact that all teams advance to regional play. As the undisputed educational leaders in each of these school districts, it is vital that the Superintendents play a leadership role not only in the current stability for issues within the region, but in helping chart the course for change in the future,” added Tackett. “Change is never easy, particularly in athletics where tradition sometimes blinds people to trying something new, but with the changing demographics of the population in the Commonwealth, it is good to study options and gather data.”

Following the approval of the regional tournament format, the Board finalized a new alignment for the 15th Region in baseball, basketball, softball and volleyball for the 2017-18 season with the impending addition of Floyd Central, which will also see Jenkins move into the 15th Region.

District 57 – Johnson Central, Magoffin County, Paintsville, Sheldon Clark
District 58 – Betsy Layne, Floyd Central, Lawrence County, Prestonsburg
District 59 – East Ridge, Jenkins, Pikeville, Shelby Valley
District 60 – Belfry, Phelps, Pike County Central, Piarist

“We had several discussions with KHSAA staff about the various proposed options prior to today’s decision and completely accept this move,” said Mike Genton, Superintendent Jenkins Public Schools. “While we have a long and proud tradition in Region 14, it is hard to dispute the reduction in travel costs that this move will allow.”

In the coming weeks, a group will be formed to meet and work out much of the logistical details and continue the discussion of options related to seeding, scheduling, bracketing and play.