The powers that be in the TSSAA Board of Control are apparently never satisfied.
Since 2009, the organization has now went through three big changes, moving back and forth on the constituency lines of regions and districts galore. Most of it revolved around football, but this time other sports were involved heavily as the Board of Control put the population and make-up of several sports on display.
Here are the decisions made by the TSSAA, listed by sport:
Football: Six Classes with no Super 32 in Class 6A as all teams will be divided evenly among different Classifications
Basketball/Baseball/Softball: Current Plan, No Change
Volleyball: Three Classes, Divided Evenly
Soccer: Three Classes, Divided Evenly
Cross Country/Track & Field/Golf/Tennis: Two Classes, Split Evenly
Wrestling: Current Plan, No Change
Bowling: One Class
Some things also voted on were the multiplier for independent schools still participating in public leagues. That multiplier is still the same, but a school can move up more than one classification if the multiplier puts them there. That could put 1A schools in 3A potentially if the number is high enough.
Athletic programs can now move up in classifications sport-by-sport, meaning that if a team wants to compete in softball in the AA classification, they can without affecting other sports. That could be good news for programs that might have a tougher draw in their current classification.
Analysing the Move
Overall, this move is pretty high on my scale. Sometimes, the TSSAA makes moves that hurt smaller schools or their wallets, but in this case, they did what was best for all. It wasn’t an earth-shaking move except for adding another class to Division II for football, but the changes might be very noticeable.
Many small schools will rejoice in the fact the Super 6A Classification is done with. That could, in turn, though, move some schools back up, such as Bledsoe County, Polk County, Tyner, and Brainerd who all dropped down to 2A last season. That could also lessen somes schools’ travel expenses with schools closer to home.
A lot of fans will complain that nothing was done for baseball, basketball, and softball, which are apart of the big four in high school athletics, but in all honesty, there shouldn’t be much change. The same number of teams would have made the State Tournament with only difference being the number of championships awarded. It looks like some fans might need a ‘participation medal’ intervention.
On the other hand, Volleyball and Soccer received a facelift adding another division in each. This could help some borderline Single-A teams make a run within their own division with the added benefit of no privates schools that actually recruit. It’s a move that adds championships in a sport that has developed more fanfare and competition over the years. The difference between this move and the baseball/basketball/softball stalemate was that these sports needed some parity with the dominance of private schools over the years.
The TSSAA board of control has made some risky and mind-boggling moves in the past, but this one seems to have more pros than cons.