The TSSAA board of control met last week and there is a proposal on the table about changing to four classifications in high school football. In my 22 years of covering sports in West Tennessee, it will be the third time if this happens that the TSSAA has altered the number of classifications for football.
In my opinion the change to six classifications was driven by money because a state the size of Tennessee is not big enough for six classifications. Texas has 12 and Florida has 10, if you need a comparison. Tennessee actually has nine when you count private schools, which currently are on their own.
In the new configuration TSSAA is considering, the cutoff for 1-A would be 358. So, 2-A would be from 358 and above and cap out at 716. Then 3-A would be 716 to 1,432, and 4-A would be 1,432 to 2,865. Currently under this format, 1-A would have 69 schools, 2-A would have 98, 3-A would have 107, and 4-A would have 57.
One thing for certain is it would change the landscape once again on how high school football looks in our area and for the county teams. The question on my mind, and I am sure it is on yours as well, is how we feel about it?
Personally, I have mixed emotions. For example, I am getting tired of the TSSAA continually changing things, even though I think six classes for public schools are too many. Class 2-A will be very competitive and frankly I like that under this format. When the Huntingdon Mustangs moved up from 1-A to 2-A last year there were moans from some fans. But, every game we played last year was competitive and I enjoyed the season from that standpoint.
The bottom line is that I actually hope the TSSAA changes to four classes because of the reasons I stated previously in this column. The playoffs have been watered down in the past with six classes and this will cure that problem. The teams that make the playoffs with four classes will actually have to earn it.
Make sure you check out the Beating Around the Bush Podcast which is off its summer vacation. It’s available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and other places you get your podcasts.