TSSAA's classification decision on hold

TSSAA's classification decision on hold

June 15th, 2012 by Stephen Hargis in Sports - Preps

Quarterback Brady Reed, 17, of Ooltewah High School attempts to run through Bradley Central defense during a game at Ooltewah High School.

Photo by Staff Report/Times Free Press.

These are potential regions the TSSAA presented to the Board of Control for a five-class football system for the 2013-16 seasons. These are based on current enrollments. The 2013-16 regions would be based on enrollments 20 days into the fall semester.

CLASS 1A

Region 1: Cloudland, Hampton, Hancock County, North Greene, Unaka

Region 2: Coalfield, Greenback, Harriman, Jellico, Midway, Oakdale, Oneida, Sunbright, Wartburg Central

Region 3: Copper Basin, Grace Baptist, Huntland, Lookout Valley, Moore County, South Pittsburg, Whitwell

Region 4: Clay County, Friendship, Gordonsville, Middle Tennessee Christian, Monterey, Pickett County, Red Boiling Springs, Trousdale County, Watertown

Region 5: Clarksville Academy, East Robertson, Houston County, Jo Byrns, McEwen, Nashville Christian

Region 6: Collinwood, Columbia Academy, Cornersville, Eagleville, Mount Pleasant, Perry County, Richland, Summertown, Wayne County

Region 7: Bruceton, Dresden, Gleason, Greenfield, Huntingdon, Lake County, McKenzie, South Fulton, Union City, West Carroll

Region 8: Halls, Humboldt, Memphis Academy of Health Sciences, Memphis Northside, Middleton

CLASS 2A

Region 1: Cosby, Cumberland Gap, Gatlinburg-Pittman, Happy Valley, South Greene, Sullivan North

Region 2: Alcoa, Austin-East, Knoxville Grace Christian Oliver Springs, Rockwood, Sweetwater, Tellico Plains

Region 3: Bledsoe County, Boyd-Buchanan, Brainerd, Howard, Marion County, Meigs County, Polk County, Silverdale Baptist, Tyner

Region 4: Cannon County, Jackson County, Smith County, Upperman, Westmoreland, York

Region 5: Cascade, Community, East Hickman, Fairview, Forrest, Goodpasture, Harpeth, Hickman County, White House-Heritage

Region 6: Adamsville, Camden, Decatur County Riverside, Lewis County, Loretto, Scotts Hill, Waverly

Region 7: Central-Merry, Gibson County, Milan, Peabody, South Gibson, Trinity, Westview

Region 8: B.T. Washington, Frayser, George Washington Carver, Hillcrest, Manassas, Mitchell, Oakhaven, Trezevant, Westwood

CLASS 3A

Region 1: Chuckey-Doak, Elizabethton, Greeneville, Johnson County, Sullivan East, Unicoi County, West Greene

Region 2: Carter, Claiborne, Fulton, Grainger, Pigeon Forge, Union County

Region 3: Christian Academy of Knoxville, Kingston, Loudon, McMinn Central, Scott

Region 4: Chattanooga Christian, East Ridge, Grundy County, Hixson, Notre Dame, Red Bank, Sequatchie County, Signal Mountain

Region 5: Cheatham County, Creek Wood, Greebrier, Montgomery Central, Northeast, Stewart County, Sycamore, White House

Region 6: Christ Presbyterian, DeKalb County, East Literature, Giles County, Marshall County, Page, Pearl-Cohn, Spring Hill, Stratford

Region 7: Bolivar, Chester County, Crockett County, Dyersburg, Jackson South Side, Lexington, Liberty, McNairy, Obion County

Region 8: Covington, Fairley, Frederick Douglass, Hamilton, Melrose, Memphis East, Raleigh-Egypt, Sheffield

CLASS 4A

Region 1: Cherokee, Cocke County, David Crockett, Morristown, Sullivan Central, Sullivan South, Tennessee High, Volunteer

Region 2: Gibbs, Karns, Knoxville Catholic, Knoxville Central, Knoxville Halls, Seymour, South Doyle, West High

Region 3: Anderson County, Campbell County, Clinton, Cumberland County, Lenoir City, Oak Ridge, Stone Memorial

Region 4: Chattanooga Central, Cleveland, East Hamilton, Ooltewah, Rhea County, Sequoyah, White County

Region 5: Beech, Gallatin, Kenwood, Macon County, Maplewood, Northwest, Portland, Springfield, West Creek, Whites Creek

Region 6: Columbia, David Lipscomb, Glencliff, Hillsboro, Hillwood, Lawrence County, Shelbyville, Summit, Tullahoma

Region 7: Dyer County, Hardin County, Haywood, Jackson North Side, Ripley

Region 8: Craigmont, Kingsbury, Millington, Munford, Overton, Ridgeway

CLASS 5A

Region 1: Daniel Boone, Dobyns-Bennett, Jefferson County, Morristown, Science Hill, Sevier County

Region 2: Bearden, Farragut, Hardin Valley, Heritage, Maryville, Powell, William Blount

Region 3: Bradley Central, Coffee County, Franklin County, Lincoln County, McMinn County, Soddy-Daisy, Walker Valley, Warren County

Region 4: Blackman, Cookeville, La Vergne, Lebanon, Oakland, Riverdale, Siegel, Smyrna

Region 5: Clarksville, Dickson County, Hendersonville, Henry County, Mount Juliet, Rossview, Station Camp, Wilson Central

Region 6: Antioch, Brentwood, Cane Ridge, Centennial, Franklin, Hunters Lane, Independence, Overton, McGavock, Ravenwood

Region 7: Arlington, Bartlett, Bolton, Brighton, Cordova, Houston, Memphis Central

Region 8: Collierville, Germantown, Kirby, Southwind, White Station, Whitehaven, Wooddale

The TSSAA Board of Control voted Thursday to table the decision on classification until its next meeting, July 12.

After nearly two days of discussion, the board narrowed the likely choices to two, and the nine members decided they wanted to delay a final decision until after they had presented each scenario to the schools in their areas.

"I think the smartest thing is for all of us to go back and present the possibilities to the schools we represent and see how they feel," said Sequatchie County principal Tommy Layne, who represents the Chattanooga area on the board. "There are concerns with each potential way of doing it, and not everybody is going to be happy no matter what we decide."

The board likely will vote to keep the current three-classification system for every sport except football, and the decision for the state's top revenue-producing sport is whether to continue using the current plan, which has three classes for the regular season, then expands to six for the playoffs, or to return to the old five-class system. Whichever classification plan is voted in will go into effect for the 2013-17 school years.

A four-classification system for all sports was also discussed but didn't appear to have much support from the board. It would include increased travel for all sports and require every playoff format to be revamped.

"If it were just up to me, I would vote to keep things as they are," Layne said. "From a principal's standpoint, there is less travel involved for the schools right now. The biggest drawback is that the football coaches don't know who they play in the playoffs until after the last week of the season, and they don't like that."

The board also will vote in July on whether to continue using the enrollment multiplier for private schools that opt to not give need-based financial aid so that they can continue playing in the public school division. The state's current multiplier of 1.8 for those schools is the highest rate in the nation. Some states -- Arkansas, Georgia and Missouri included -- recently stopped using a multiplier for private schools.

There are 336 football playing schools in Tennessee, 303 of which play in Division I. If the board votes to keep the current classification system for football, enrollment figures show a dramatic change in Class 1A, where 10 schools would likely move up in class, leaving just 31 schools to vie for 24 playoff berths. Class 2A would go from 39 schools to 50, but there wouldn't be noticeable change in any other class.

Should the board choose to return to a five-class system, as was used for 15 years before changing in 2009, it will mean more than one fewer state champion being crowned. Such a move also would mean the regular-season league groupings would return to a region format, which also means more travel for all teams.

If that happens, no collection of area teams would be more hard-hit with extended travel than the 5A schools, which would include Bradley Central, McMinn County, Soddy-Daisy and Walker Valley. They likely would be placed in a region with Coffee County, Franklin County, Lincoln County and Warren County.

Under the current classification, the area's largest league of teams includes Bradley Central, Cleveland, McMinn County, Ooltewah, Rhea County, Soddy-Daisy and Walker Valley.

"The travel would really hurt us and most of the other programs," Bradley coach Damon Floyd said. "For me, I would rather keep it the same. We've built some good rivalries in our league now, and it's more fun to play people you know. And of course everybody needs money to run a program, and it would hurt us to travel that far and knowing they're not going to bring as many fans when they come to our place from so far away. It would kill our gates."

Aside from the classification issue, the board also voted to table a proposal to change the traditional state wrestling tournament into a Class AAA and A/AA format until November. The board denied a proposal to form Division II track into large- and small-school classifications.