KHSAA chief: One-region, 2017-18 pilot to drop district tournaments in several sports will provide "great data" helping officials elsewhere decide if the option is worth exploring

Falmouth Outlook, Feb. 28, 2017

Is end of district tournaments near?

by Keith Smith

At the KHSAA Board of Control January meeting, they gave approval for the 15th Region to experiment with postseason high school basketball tournament and do away with the districts. All 16 teams will advance to the 2017-18 15th Region basketball tournament essentially side stepping the district tournament in the team sports of baseball, basketball, softball and volleyball.

“This pilot program could provide great data for other regions who may face a similar issue in the future with further school consolidations,” said Tackett. “This is something that could potentially be implemented by any region with sixteen-or-fewer teams, and we are eager to monitor its results going forward. With consolidations, declining populations and job losses in many areas, we have to be open to new ideas and I am grateful this group of superintendents stepped forward with their request.

“This also has the added benefit of de-pressurizing discussions around district alignment due to the fact that all teams advance to regional play. As the undisputed educational leaders in each of these school districts, it is vital that the superintendents play a leadership role not only in the current stability for issues within the region, but in helping chart the course for change in the future,” added Tackett.

“Change is never easy, particularly in athletics where tradition sometimes blinds people to trying something new, but with the changing demographics of the population in the Commonwealth, it is good to study options and gather data.”

The superintendents of the 15th Region met with the KHSAA as they faced challenges like an imperfect geographically aligned region and a pattern of reduced sports offerings by some schools in the region.

There were few obvious non-impactful options available. The schools will play one less regular season game and then play a modified regional tournament with an extra round. The teams will be
seeded by regular season play rankings, voting or other methods to be worked out in future meetings with those schools.

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