published Sunday, February 19th, 2012

Adding A/AA still in discussion

FRANKLIN, Tenn. -- The debate continues to rage over the need for a traditional tournament for Tennessee Class A/AA schools, but the question continues to be the number of participants per weight class for Class AAA and the number for an A/AA event.

In informal discussions with the TSSAA some coaches believe the association will be asking for a reduction from 32 wrestlers to 24 per weight class to accommodate a 12-man A/AA state. Most coaches are against such a move, not wanting to reduce the number of wrestlers in the Class AAA field, but all seem to think such a move will increase the number of schools participating in the sport. There were 135 schools in one of the eight Division I tournaments.

"I don't like the way [the TSSAA] is wanting to run it. The whole point in splitting the state [tournament] is to promote the sport and get more kids involved," Hixson coach Garrick Hall said.

"There're still talk of doing an eight-man A/Double-A state and dropping Triple-A to 16. The Triple-A folks aren't asking for this. I just don't think I want to take two kids from a region to the A/Double-A state."

If the proposal is passed, Hall said that if teams are allowed to choose which tournament they want to compete in that they should have to do the same for the duals and the traditional tournaments.

Penalties urged

There is a thought among coaches that if they must contend with the NWCA and National Federation of High Schools weight management program that all programs must do so or face the threat of a $1,000 fine, no postseason participation and the school's entire athletic program being placed on probation.

Some schools have seen fit not to enter their weigh-ins as required, but no penalty has been imposed for those who have simply ignored or bypassed the rule.

Old weight classes

Several proposals involved revoking the new weight-class change put in place last summer. That change, coming from the national federation, eliminated a middle weight and added a 195-pound class. That final proposal was passed by an overwhelming majority.

There also were requests to increase the number of allowed dates to 20 and to allow teams to participate in five tournaments instead of four.

Division I seeding

One of the most important suggestions was to improve seeding criteria for the state tournament to include head-to-head meetings. It would be possible, coaches reasoned, if all coaches enter all their results on the NWCA site. There was also a suggestion to form a seeding committee similar to Division II, which actually has a day set aside to seed its tournament. However, Division II has no qualifying tournaments.

Finally, it was proposed that the state change the traditional and dual tournament dates, possibly moving the duals to the end of the season and the traditional tournament in January. It may prove impossible logistically because of the qualifying regional tournaments, but the vote was 24-12 in favor.

about Ward Gossett...

Ward Gossett is an assistant sports editor and writer for the Times Free Press. Ward has a long history in Chattanooga journalism. He actually wrote a bylined story for the Chattanooga News-Free Press as a third-grader. He Began working part-time there in 1968 and was hired full time in 1970. Ward now covers high school athletics, primarily football, wrestling and baseball and University of Tennessee at Chattanooga wrestling. Over a 40-year career, he has covered ...

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