Fuel costs spur TSSAA realignment

Wednesday, June 18, 2008
'I just don't understand why the TSSAA doesn't do what South Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama already do and that is publics play publics and privates play privates. It is all about the state making money.' -- Scott Delk FHS Athletic Director

rising fuels costs, the TSSAA adopted a new realignment plan at its Board of Control meeting last Wednesday.

The Z-Plan, which won by a slim 5-4 margin, will take effect affect in the 2009-2010 season.

Football was the only sport definitively discussed and approved at the meeting, but softball, baseball, basketball and volleyball are expected to be approved under the same plan in August to ensure common district opponents in the five sports.

Here are the realignment brackets for the schools in Marshall County beginning in 2009 using current enrollment figures. Realignment will be done officially using fall enrollment figures. Teams in each district will play each other throughout the regular season and then be split for post-season play.

For example, all 1A teams would play other 1A teams in the play-offs in each district and match up with the corresponding district for region play.

Class A

District 9: 1A -- Boyd Christian*, Middle Tennessee Christian, Eagleville; 2A -- Community, Cascade, FRA, Forrest, Ezell-Harding

District 10: 1A -- Jo Byrns, Clarksville Academy, Nashville Christian, McEwen; 2A -- White House-Heritage, Houston County, East Robertson

District 11: 1A -- Santa Fe*, Huntland, Culleoka*, Moore County, Columbia Academy, Cornersville; 2A -- Mt. Pleasant, Richland

District 12: 1A -- Frank Hughes*, Hampshire*, Zion Christian, Perry County, Collinwood, Wayne County; 2A -- Summertown*

Class AA

District 11: 3A -- Cheatham County, Fairview, Harpeth, Stewart County, Waverly; 4A -- Creek Wood, Montgomery Central

District 12: 3A -- East Hickman, Hickman County, Lewis County, Loretto; 4A -- Giles County, Marshall County, Page, Spring Hill

*No football program

In 6A, 5A, 4A, and 3A, 32 teams would qualify for the playoffs. In 2A and 1A 24 teams would qualify for the playoffs. This difference is due to the fact that there would be 41-42 schools in 2A and 1A each, with 58-62 schools in the other four classifications.

Teams would qualify for the playoffs in the following manner:

One half of the teams in each group (6A, 5A) in each district are automatic qualifiers (Example: four teams, two automatic qualifiers; six teams, three automatic qualifiers; three teams, one automatic qualifier; one team, no automatic qualifiers)

Teams finishing 1st or 2nd in the district are automatic qualifiers. Wild cards are based on TSSAA tiebreakers.

The 32 teams are then placed geographically in four quadrants with eight teams in each quadrant in 6A, 5A, 4A and 3A. In 2A and 1A there are six in each quadrant with the top two seeds drawing a bye in the first round.

The eight teams (6 in 2A and 1A) are placed in the bracket so that no teams from the same district play each other in the first round except when there are five or more teams from the same district.

Placements are then done with priorities given to automatic qualifiers based on their district finish followed by Wild Cards. There may be times where teams have to be placed other than their order of district finish to avoid teams from the same district meeting in the first round.

The team with the higher seed will host throughout the first three rounds. In the semifinals, the top team in the bracket will host in odd years and the team in the bottom bracket will host in even years. (Exceptions: If the two teams are from the same district, the higher-finishing team in district standings shall host.) (TSSAA June Board of Control minutes)

Forrest seems to have gotten the shortest end of the stick under the new proposal, with the addition of Ezell Harding and Franklin Road Academy to the regular season line-up. Ezell Harding has won 12 state championships in softball and one each in football, baseball and girls' and boys' basketball.

FRA has won 20 state championships in various sports, claiming four in girls soccer, three in baseball, one in football, one in girls golf, six in boys cross country, and one wrestling title.

Forrest has two state titles; one in girls' basketball in 2006 and the title the softball team won this season over another private school powerhouse, Trinity Christian Academy, the first win by a public school in 27 years.

"I think our spring sports of baseball and softball will suffer the most. Picking up Ezell Harding and FRA does not make it any easier, but we have just won only the third state title ever in softball," said Forrest Athletic Dir . . .Pick up a copy of today's edition, Wednesday, June 18, 2008, for entire story.