Board of Control Addresses Future Postseason Formats for Fall Championships
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 19, 2019
The Board of Control reviewed postseason formats and state qualifying for several fall sports during its meeting at the KHSAA Offices on Tuesday. Changes to the state golf qualifying process and golf alignment were among the topics discussed, along with the implementation of the RPI during the Football postseason and a revision of the semi-state round for the soccer postseason.
The final action in revising the golf regional alignment, as well as state tournament qualifying, completes nearly a full year of review of the manner in which the postseason championships are conducted in the sport. In past years, the golf format for advancement to the state tournament was for the top two teams from each region (four or five players), along with the top four girls at-large and top three boys at-large from each region, to qualify for state. Following the Board’s decision in January to revise the state qualifying team to four players, additional clarifications and changes were needed in the competition rules.
With the approval of a revised 12-region alignment for both boys and girls (available at https://khsaa.org/021919-alignment-revisions-approved-for-boys-and-girls-golf-effective-2019/) the Board’s approved alignment attempts to get the majority of schools from the same basketball region into the same golf region, even if there are not sixteen golf regions, and addresses several longstanding geographic imbalances and placements. The project, which began with long-standing concerns over the pace of play in championship competition, particularly in the late fall, resulted in a comprehensive review of the golf championship setup. The new state qualifying format will result in the four-person winner and runner-up teams from each region, plus an additional four at-large qualifiers from each region (plus tied players from that region if such ties exist) advancing to state. This change also allows for 12 additional individual qualifiers from regions throughout the state in boys’ golf and brings two more teams and four more qualifying individuals to the girls’ state tournament.
Based on that decision in January, the following recommended changes were approved to the golf competition rules as the Board tried to address a variety of feedback that had been received:
Teams may enter up to five golfers in regional play;
The team score in the regional tournament shall be based on the lowest four scores, and those four individuals shall compose the team for state entry;
The fifth-place finisher from a team could qualify for the state championship as an individual if qualifying in one of the top four at-large positions;
Any team member from the postseason roster may be substituted on a qualifying team in the event of illness or injury prior to the setting of the final pairings for the state championship and not later than midnight Thursday prior to state;
In the event that a coach chooses to substitute the fifth golfer from the region team who had qualified for the state tournament as an individual, for one of the first four that originally qualified, that individual qualifying spot would be replaced by the next highest regional finisher from a different school in that region;
In the event of disqualification for any reason of a team qualifying member, the remaining individuals remain eligible for individual competition awards, however, the team will not be considered for team finish;
In the event that four individuals qualify for the state tournament from the same school but are not the winner or runner-up team, that school would not be eligible for the team championship at the state tournament.
“The Board took several meetings over several months to gather data and feedback as it undertook this thorough review. In the end, there is strong feeling on the Board that these changes will strengthen the competition pool at the state championship event and give more students from throughout the state an opportunity to qualify, while at the same time addressing longstanding concerns over the pace of play,” said KHSAA Commissioner Julian Tackett. “The Board listened to every concern expressed and a wide variety of available data. While all of those with an opinion may not be satisfied, the Board’s determination to find a balanced answer that was for the betterment of both the game and the participants was evident by the comprehensive review and time and effort devoted to the task. Frankly, the championship in this great sport had perhaps been neglected and was in need of updating and I am thankful this Board was not only up to the challenge, but greeted each step of the way with creative thinking and a desire for comprehensive review.”
Additional changes and clarifications were also made regarding the football playoffs. Following the Board’s decision during its January meeting to implement inter-district football playoffs starting in 2019 through the 2022 season, a determination needed to be made regarding when District championship trophies are earned and presented. After examining its options, the Board revised the competition rules to clarify that the District champion is the winner of each second-round playoff game.
The Board also sought to clarify the role that RPI will play in the football playoffs next season, advising staff to revise the competition rules to specify that football will seed third round games based on the Playoff RPI, which is the RPI at the end of the final regular-season contests. In each class, the highest remaining seed in regions 1-4 shall host the fourth highest remaining in regions 1-4; the 2nd highest remaining seed in regions 1-4 shall host the third highest remaining seed in regions 1-4; the highest remaining seed in regions 5-8 shall host the fourth highest remaining in regions 5-8 and the 2nd highest remaining seed in regions 5-8 shall host the third highest remaining seed in regions 5-8.
For the fourth round, in all classes, the highest remaining seed hosts the fourth highest remaining seed and the 2nd highest remaining seed hosts the third highest remaining seed. For the championship games, the highest seed remaining will be the home team on the scoreboard and wear their dark jerseys.
“Someday, there will be an issue related to the football playoffs that is unanimously received by all of those involved with the game at our level. But that day likely isn’t today and like most times, the Board is left to sort through a wide variety of thoughts and opinions and make the decisions that they think are best after balancing all perspectives,” said Tackett. “It is certainly my hope from my position, that our membership and the public will give open-minded support to the adopted changes throughout this next alignment period.
“The game of football, both nationally and statewide, has such an impact on our communities and our schools. I am happy that the Board thoroughly reviewed the alternatives for not only enhancement of the game, but also for dealing with the very real and present budget concerns that are presented to today’s programs. While there are things that might be wished for in a perfect world, today’s world around football is not perfect, and stabilization and continuance of this great American tradition have forced our Board to make some uncomfortable decisions. Everyone involved is challenged to think bigger picture than just next game or next year, and in many cases, not make the popular decision, but the best decision. Our Board feels strongly that these decisions are in the best interest of the member schools and is passionate about keeping this great game strong.”
The Board also reviewed results of a survey issued by the KHSAA to the membership regarding the future format of the state soccer tournament. Member schools were asked to select their preference for the quarterfinal games, between Option A (Playing the contest(s) in proximity to the region schools within a pod of four regions, 1-4, 5-8, 9-12 and 13-16) and Option B (Playing the contest(s) as part of a multiple game day in a central location even if ACT/SAT test conflicts exist).
With Option A receiving the most support (93-47), the Board accepted the recommendation based on survey results and established that the state quarterfinal round will return to a format where the games are played in four region pods at an approved site, which is to be designated by the host semi-state school per the approved semi-state table. Staff was also asked to amend the competition rules to require both semi-state round games (state round of 16 and state round of eight) to be played at a site that meets the region-specific requirements. The games will not necessarily be played at the region winner but would have to be played at a region site that met specific requirements. The regions would be paired based on the chart at https://khsaa.org/soccer-semi-state-pairings/ with the round of eight games being played at the odd-numbered semi-state in odd-numbered years and even-numbered semi-state in even-numbered years.
“The Board has expressed tremendous concern these last few years about conflicts with our scheduled events and the October ACT dates. It would be nice if there were no conflicts between any activities desired by our students, but this one is particularly troubling as so many scholarship opportunities for prospective collegiate students are based on the results of the October ACT,” said Tackett. “With these decisions, we will be able to continue the great participation experiences for our students while at the same time, scheduling them at a time so as to allow our students the opportunity to minimize conflict with this important test date.”
In other action Tuesday, the Board:
Selected representative Darrell Billings (Stanton) as its President-Elect for 2019-20;
Approved additional plans to target the recruitment of contest officials;
Heard a status report on the initial and second season of the esports competition;
Heard a report on the NFHS Football Rules changes and confirmed that there are no present plans to implement instant replay for KHSAA football playoff championship games.