LEXINGTON – On Wednesday, Nov. 18, the Kentucky High School Athletic Association Board of Control approved a proposal from KHSAA staff to revise the schedule for the state baseball tournament during its regularly scheduled meeting at the Association’s headquarters. In an effort to alleviate competitive issues under the current format resulting from pitching limitations and roster depth, as outlined in the extensive research conducted by Lawrence County Athletic Director Travis Feltner and validated through staff review of the current format, the new format will provide a minimum of three days of rest between the quarterfinals and the semifinals. Beginning with this year’s state tournament, the revised format will allow teams the opportunity to use their pitchers at the top of the rotation in both the early rounds (first round/quarterfinals) and the later rounds (semifinals/championship).
“Pitching limitations are in place for the health and safety of our student-athletes,” KHSAA Commissioner Julian Tackett said. “In keeping with the overall desire of the membership to maintain a 16-team format, and yet alleviate identified problems with pitching restrictions, a change in schedule was necessitated.”
“The Association has always been a leader in minimizing risk for our student-athletes based on sports medicine research, as exemplified by this action as well as our recent changes regarding contact in football,” said Board of Control President Jeff Saylor.
Working in conjunction with representatives from the Lexington Legends, the revised format for this year’s Rawlings/KHSAA State Baseball Tournament will be as follows: Thursday, June 9 – First Round games (11 a.m., 1:30 p.m., 6:30 and 8 p.m.); Friday, June 10 – First Round games (11 a.m., 1:30 p.m., 6:30 and 8 p.m.); Saturday, June 11 – Quarterfinals (11 a.m., 1:30 p.m., 6:30 and 8 p.m.); Friday, June 17 – Semifinals (6:30 and 8 p.m.); Saturday, June 18 – Championship (7 p.m.).
In addition to discussing the format of the state baseball tournament, the Board heard a first reading of a proposal to adopt pitch count restrictions in the continued interest of student-athlete health and safety. Among the various recommendations being considered for adoption is the USA Baseball Pitch Smart guidelines, which can be found at this link: https://goo.gl/TFnIvC. Final adoption is scheduled for the January Board meeting following clarification of specifically identified sports medicine issues, with the new regulations set to go into effect for the 2016 season.
For the past several years, the KHSAA staff and Board of Control have been reviewing the region and state tennis formats due to concerns expressed from experts in Sports Medicine. At its recent meeting, the KHSAA Board of Control approved a staff recommendation based on feedback and consensus from the Commissioner’s Tennis Advisory Committee, to no longer play the team vs. team and individual singles/doubles state competitions on the same days. Rather, these events will be separated to conduct a separate team versus team tennis (seven-player) tournament.
The Kentucky Medical Association’s Sports Medicine Committee, acting on a report and adopting research-based findings from the USTA, the governing body for Youth and Adult Tennis in the U.S., recently strongly recommended that changes be made to ensure that players play no more than two full set matches in a day. This recommendation compels the KHSAA to make revisions to the schedule to ensure that the health and welfare of the student-athletes continue to be the primary focus. For more information on the changes to the tennis postseason, view the full blog post at: http://khsaa.org/?p=16907
“The review of our state tennis format has been an ongoing process,” said Tackett. “We look forward to the next stage of this event and the positive impact these changes will have on this great championship.”
In other action on Wednesday, the Board:
– Continued its discussion of possible bracketing alternatives for football playoffs. The Board directed staff to provide the Board with reports, talking points and data to allow for discussion with local membership groups of coaches, administrators and other individuals, in anticipation of a final determination of cross bracketing for 2016 and beyond at the Board’s next meeting in January.
– Confirmed November 5 as the date of the 2016 State Cross Country Meet at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington.
– Reviewed the annual financial aid report produced through a survey of the membership. The Board discussed with Staff methods for improving both the survey and implementation methods in the future. The Board approved the report and directed that a follow-up report on all deficient school reports be presented at the January meeting.
– Heard a presentation from Bill Ahern (Universal Cheerleaders Association) about the logistics and feasibility of conducting a championship in the sport-activity of Dance, should the Board vote to adopt the sport-activity following the results of the triennial survey.
– Received an update from staff on an adjustment to the basketball draw process, which will allow the Commissioner to assign first round game times after the draw is conducted in January. This change brings basketball in line with the method used for all other KHSAA team championships.