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01/16/19 – Board of Control Sets Sites for State Softball and State Archery; Reviews Football Playoff Format

January 16, 2019 2018-2019 News Releases

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 16, 2019

In its first meeting of the new year on Wednesday at the KHSAA Offices, the Board of Control finalized locations for two spring championships while addressing the future playoff structure for football and continuing its research for future revisions to state golf.

Following last year’s action by the Board to transition the state softball tournament from a double-elimination format to single elimination, create an eight-team state tournament and a semi-state round, KHSAA staff sent out information to prospective cities interested in hosting the event. After reviewing information and options from both Lexington and Louisville, the Board approved a recommendation to award the 2019 and 2020 State Softball Championships to the University of Kentucky’s John Cropp Stadium.

“The young ladies in the Commonwealth are so blessed to have great facilities interested in hosting the revised state tournament format,” said KHSAA Commissioner Julian Tackett. “It will change many of the dynamics around the event as we upgrade the participant and fan experiences to a great level.”

For the last four years, the State Archery Championship has been contested at the Kentucky Basketball Academy in Lexington. A review of the state Archery site was necessitated by KBA transitioning to become the Kentucky Basketball Commission and the resultant changes to the financial structure around the event. Following discussion, the Board of Control ultimately approved a recommendation from staff to hold the 2019 and 2020 State Archery Championships at Ephram White Park in Bowling Green; tentatively scheduled this spring for April 30.

“We will be forever indebted to the great folks at KBA for helping us get the state archery tournament off the ground and look forward to this next phase of development as we branch out to a new facility and a different part of the state,” said Tackett.

Football playoff structure and bracketing were also discussed Wednesday, after concerns were raised by a portion of the membership regarding significant early round travel and unbalanced matchups, in some cases, under the current cross bracketing system (which was originally requested by the Commissioner’s Football Advisory Committee as a means of playing different teams in the postseason and varying the annual matchups).

Included in the discussion, was the determination to finalize the development and approval of a Rating Power Index (RPI), as has been adopted in many states, to seed playoff matchups at a certain point in the playoffs. The RPI would be a function of the strength of schedule, with parameters weighted 35% on a team’s strength of schedule, 35 percent on its opponents’ strength of schedule, and 30 percent on its opponents’ opponents’ strength of schedule. The development of an RPI could also have the added benefit of resulting in more competitive schedules for some schools and a modernized method of breaking three-way district ties.

After reviewing several options, the Board approved a motion to play the first two rounds of play within district. The RPI would then be used to seed the third round, within districts 1-4 and 5-8, and would also be used to seed the final four teams as well.

“There is probably no fan of high school sports that doesn’t have an opinion about the football playoffs. There certainly have been a variety pack of formats as we continue to get membership feedback. However, in the end, the vast majority of the schools did not want to reduce the number of playoff teams,” said Tackett. “With that in mind and continuing concerns about less than desirable matchups in the first round, the board felt very strongly that the amount of travel for the first two rounds needed to be reduced regardless of the fact the teams might have already played. Certainly, those repeat matchups occur in every team sport and the board did not feel a difference was justified if less travel was involved.

“The RPI will be an exciting development, especially given the fact that it will be totally transparent. It does not reward teams for higher point margins, instead rewarding teams that play a tougher schedule, and will not be some group of people interjecting opinions and thoughts with potential unchecked bias. The objectivity of the RPI will be a great feature. “

The future format of the Golf Regional and State Tournaments were also heavily discussed on Wednesday, with the Board ultimately directing staff to return to the February meeting with draft alignments in several regional configurations with all schools being in the same region for both genders, the regional winner and runner-up advancing to the state tournament as four-member teams and a still-to-be-determined number of individuals from each region to keep a field of approximately 144.

The Board also made a further revision to the State Field Hockey Tournament, after electing at its last meeting to cease the advancement of regional runner-ups to the state tournament. Following feedback from the membership, the Board approved a motion to create a semi-state round (similar to soccer) where the regional champions and runners-up will play on campus sites, with the winners advancing to the state semifinals.

“As the board continues to review the future of its sponsorship of field hockey, it was responsive to concerns that the change in eliminating the runners-up could have a chilling impact on increased participation,” said Tackett. “The semi-state round will force our schools to re-examine when they play their regional games to ensure that they are done in time for the state tournament.”

In other action Wednesday, the Board:

  • Reviewed a time schedule for the 2019 Pannell Swim Shop/KHSAA State Swimming & Diving Championships, available at https://khsaa.org/2019-state-swimming-and-diving-schedule/
  • Confirmed a recommended motion to waive the end of the Track & Field and Tennis seasons to allow for a meet to take place up to and including the Saturday prior to the State Championship competition in both sports provided schools will not exceed the limit of meets.
  • Placed Danville Christian in District 45 for 2019-20 and directed the Commissioner and staff to meet with the representatives of Region 12 regarding possible future revisions.
  • Conducted a scheduled review of officiating fees and accepted a recommendation to revise the basketball minimum game fee by $5 for a three-person crew, and the two-person emergency fee to $75 per official; revise the wrestling fee by $10 per day per regional official with the elimination of the mileage provision.
  • Directed staff to revise the competition rules to remove the options for experimental bracketing in the 15th Region after no action was taken following initial approval of the pilot program three years ago.

-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 280 member schools both public and private. The KHSAA sanctions 44 state championships in 13 sports and 5 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.

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