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Girls state tourney dates extended for future years in Rupp Arena; same with football finals at Kroger Field

Mercer County celebrated winning the state title at Northern Kentucky University last year.

During the course of its February meeting at the KHSAA offices on Wednesday, the Board of Control deliberated on the postseason formats, future sites and alignments for several sports. The most impactful decision made Wednesday concerned the future of the state softball tournament, with the Board voting for the event to transition to a single-elimination format in 2019. The move to single elimination will bring the softball championship more in-line with the baseball state tournament while also helping to alleviate concerns with the potential overuse of pitchers under the current double-elimination format.

“We have been discussing the future and the format of the state softball tournament for the last several years, and I applaud the Board for the steps it took today in approving our recommendations,” said KHSAA Commissioner Julian Tackett. “Examining the state softball and baseball tournaments, you would be hard pressed to say the events were equitable for the participants and fans in their current formats. Moving to a single-elimination format where each team plays one game per day in those early rounds will open some new possibilities for the scheduling of this championship.”

The approval for the future format of the state softball tournament also included a motion to suspend implementation of the International Tiebreaker for the 2018 season.

The Board also addressed the future dates and sites for the boys’ and girls’ Sweet Sixteen®. Having previously established dates for the 2020-21 season to address facility conflicts with Rupp Arena hosting the 2021 NCAA Men’s Basketball First and Second Round, KHSAA staff worked in conjunction with arena personnel to finalize the 2019 through 2022 tournament dates. Under previous direction from the Board of Control, the Boys’ Sweet 16® was traditionally scheduled to avoid conflicts with the Southeastern Conference and Atlantic Coast Conference Tournaments. With the Girls’ Sweet 16® moving to Rupp Arena in 2019, the Board approved a recommendation to rotate the two tournaments over the next four years:

2019 – March 6-10 (BOYS); March 13-17 (GIRLS)
2020 – March 11-15 (GIRLS); March 18-22 (BOYS)
2021 – March 3-7 (BOYS); March 10-14 (GIRLS)
2022 – March 9-13 (GIRLS); March 16-20 (BOYS)

As part of the approved motion, the Girls’ Sweet 16® was awarded to Rupp Arena for an additional two years (through the 2022 tournament) following the Board’s revision of the 2020-21 playing season during a previous meeting.

The Board addressed several topics concerning football on Wednesday, including a review of a preliminary district alignment for 2019-20 through 2022-23. Following the January Board meeting, schools were given the option to declare their desire to “play up” in classification. The decisions to “play up” in the new alignment were:

  • 1A to 2A – Trimble County
  • 3A to 4A – Boyle County, Central
  • 4A to 5A – East Jessamine, Highlands, Western
  • 5A to 6A – Barren County
  • Withdrawal from District for the period – Fulton City

The draft alignment will be submitted to the membership for comment, with final ratification in May, and can be viewed at: http://khsaa.org/2019-2020-through-2022-2023-draft-football-alignment/

Following a successful debut at Kroger Field for the 2017 state football finals, the Board approved a request from staff to complete the site award for the championships to be played at Kroger Field for 2020 and 2021.

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