After voting last month to extend the current football playoff format for four more seasons, the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association’s Board of Control voted Monday to keep the championship games in their current site.
Tennessee Tech’s Tucker Stadium will continue to host the BlueCross Bowl title games through 2016. The contract with the Cookeville-Putnam County Chamber of Commerce was scheduled to expire following this season’s playoffs.
“It’s a good position to be in, to know you’re wanted and to feel comfortable where you’re going,” TSSAA executive director Bernard Childress said of the decision to stay in Cookeville.
There was a 17-member contingent representing Cookeville and Tennessee Tech at the meeting. Cookeville has hosted the football championships since 2009.
“The TSSAA told us they needed to get through classification (for 2013-17 before discussing an extension),” said George Halford, president/CEO of the Cookeville-Putnam County Chamber of Commerce. “But we were nearing the end of the contract and we wanted to get this done before it ended.”
The board also voted Monday to keep the Division I boys and girls basketball championships and Spring Fling in Murfreesboro through 2017.
“This is extremely important to Rutherford County,” said Mona Herring, who is set to retire in April as vice president of the Rutherford County Convention and Visitors Bureau. “To know we have these for the next four years allows us to do some planning for the future, some preparation.
“It’s gratifying to me to know it’s in place for another four years and that my successor doesn’t have to worry about preparing a bid.”
Hillwood principal Steve Chauncy and Lewis County athletics director Bryan True voted against extending the basketball contract.
“You don’t want the appearance that we’re giving any one area of the state a monopoly,” Chauncy said. “Not that they don’t do a good job, but I just think there may be other venues we should look at.”
Spring Fling was first held in Murfreesboro in 2006. The girls basketball tournament has been at MTSU’s Murphy Center since 1975. The boys tournament has been there since 1989.
“It’s huge for us,” Childress said. “Our goal all along was to get in a situation we felt was a ‘win/win’ for both partners. If we’re in that situation, it only makes sense to give those cities an opportunity to extend the contracts.”
The board also voted to allow the TSSAA to explore moving the girls soccer championships to Murfreesboro. Those games have been held in Chattanooga since 1997, but scheduling conflicts have resulted in issues with team lodging. This November’s championships will mark the end of the current contract with the Greater Chattanooga Sports & Events Committee.
Cha-ching for Spring Fling: The postseason series for baseball, softball and track and field and Spring Fling as a whole brought gains for the TSSAA over 2011, according to financial reports that were presented to the board.
The baseball playoffs leading up to Spring Fling generated $52,129.31 for the TSSAA, a $4,064.26 increase from the previous year. Softball tournament play resulted in $31,399.75, an increase of $2,773.34. Track brought in an additional $2,102 and soccer $124 compared to 2011.
Spring Fling cleared $245,349.18, compared to the 2011 total of $237,484.74.
Tournament exception: District 8-AA was granted an exception to the maximum of two basketball tournament games on school nights in order to hold the games at Tennessee Tech and work around that school’s schedule.