It’s time TSSAA.
In fact, it’s past time.
It’s time to sit down at the table and have a serious discussion about how many classifications are best for high school football.
Nine is too many. Talk to fans. Talk to coaches. They will tell you that.
Don’t want to do that? Take a look at the Tennessee high school football playoff brackets released last week.
Here is why:
When the playoffs kick off Friday night across the state there will be 49 teams that have a losing record.
That includes eight teams that won just two games, one that won one game and one with no wins.
And in Class 1A, defending state champion Greenback has a bye because Region 1-1A had just three teams in its four-team league that were eligible for the playoffs.
That’s just watered down postseason play. They aren’t must-watch games and I have a feeling you will see that reflected in the gate receipts and lopsided scores.
How did we get here?
A year ago, a third class in Division II was added.
That coincided with a series of TSSAA rules changes that affected private schools participating in Division I and not offering need-based financial aid. The rules changes forced the majority to move to Division II starting last year.
Next year, all private schools will be in Division II due to further bylaws approved by the TSSAA’s Legislative Council. In all, about 20 football-playing private schools will have moved to Division II since 2017.
But the TSSAA chose to keep six classifications in Division I despite those schools exiting.