TSSAA could go to five-class system

TSSAA could go to five-class system

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TSSAA could go to five-class system

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MURFREESBORO

A five-class high school football playoff system received a warm reception Tuesday evening by the TSSAA Board of Control.

Is it a sign of the future of prep football in Tennessee? We will have to likely wait two more days to know.

TSSAA Executive Director Bernard Childress rolled out a five-class as well as a six-class system for Division I football.

The board will meet again today starting at 8 a.m. Earl Nall of the TSSAA is presenting a four-class football system on Thursday after the urging of board member Jody Wright, who is the Knoxville Fulton athletic director and boys basketball coach. Any vote likely wouldn’t happen until Thursday.

Wright said the football playoffs are too watered down currently.

“It used to be that making the playoffs meant something,” Wright said. “If you don’t make the playoffs today, it’s more like the yoke of shame.”

The TSSAA is currently looking at reclassification for the 2013-14, 2014-15, 2015-16 and 2016-17 school years.

“We are about to screw up a good system,” said board member Tommy Layne, who is the principal of Sequatchie County. Layne is in favor of the current six-class system.

For Rutherford County’s largest schools, five classes would mean a larger league, with Lebanon and Cookeville joining what is currently a six-team Rutherford County conference in Region 4-5A. That does not include Stewarts Creek, which is scheduled to open for the 2013-14 school year and would likely play varsity football in Class 5A.

In Class 1A, MTCS and Eagleville would be split under the proposal. MTCS would join Clay County, Friendship, Gordonsville, Monterey, Pickett County, Red Boiling Springs, Trousdale County and Watertown in Region 4-1A.

Eagleville would be with Collinwood, Columbia Academy, Cornersville, Mt. Pleasant, Perry County, Richland, Summertown and Wayne County in Region 6-1A.

Tullahoma athletics director Jerry Mathis, a member of the Board of Control which represents Rutherford County, said he has not heard from coaches in Rutherford County. But he said members of the Tennessee Athletic Coaches Association have pushed for a five-class football system, as well as a four-class system for other sports.

However, Mathis admitted there are some issues with travel in the five-class proposal. For instance, Franklin County, Coffee County and Lincoln County all would be grouped with teams from the Chattanooga area, which includes Bradley Central, Soddy-Daisy and Walker Valley.

“That’s a long way,” Mathis said. “That’s something we’d have to look at.”

The six-class system had all six Rutherford County teams together in the same district. Eagleville and MTCS are also in the same district in a six-class system. Using January enrollment numbers, MTCS would be a 2A playoff team. Currently, MTCS is a 1A playoff school. Eagleville also is a Class 1A school for the playoffs.

A four-class system for non-football sports wasn’t well received because of travel concerns. It would put Cookeville in with the other Rutherford County schools to create a seven-team district.

Eagleville and MTCS would be with Red Boiling Springs, Gordonsville, Friendship, Trousdale County and Watertown in a Class A district.

“A four-class system has come to a vote before,” said Board of Control president Mike Reed. “It fell 5-4. I thought it was going to pass then. It works well in some areas and some areas it doesn’t work well in.”

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