Josh Moore

KHSAA adopts pitch-count rule, adjusts future football classification

The KHSAA Board of Control announced the adoption of a pitch count for baseball effective beginning with the 2016 season, which gets underway March 9.

Additionally, the KHSAA also made some “midcourse” adjustments to its football classification effective beginning with the 2017 season. The new, yet-to-be-named Fayette County school has been placed into Class 6A, District 7 as part of this revision.

Class 6A, District 7 currently includes Bryan Station, Henry Clay, Paul Laurence Dunbar and Scott County. Under the current alignment, Class 6A districts with five teams — District 1, 3 and 4 — have their teams slotted into districts with three teams — District 2, 5 and 6 — based on alternating years.

The newly approved alignment does not include a playoff spot for the fifth-place team in District 7, something that could be reconsidered once full reclassification occurs for the 2019 season. As of the approved alignment, that team would be the only one in Kentucky’s largest class that won’t participate in the postseason.

South Warren will move up to Class 5A, District in the new alignment. Moore will move up to Class 4A, District 3. Floyd Central, which will be created with the consolidation of Allen Central and South Floyd, has been placed in Class 3A, District 6.

The new pitch count rule, which replaces the current innings rule, limits the number of maximum pitches a player can throw in a contest to 120. It requires that any player who throws 76 or more pitches to rest three days. Players who throw 51 to 75 pitches must rest two days while those who throw 26 to 50 would have to rest one day. No rest is mandatory for pitchers who throw one to 25 pitches.

Among other items, the KHSAA also expanded the number of state qualifiers in all swimming events meets to 40.

KHSAA NEWS RELEASE

The Board of Control addressed a lengthy agenda during its regularly scheduled meeting at the KHSAA Offices on Thursday, approving a slight “midcourse” adjustment to the football alignment as required by the competition rules and future football playoff bracket formats, finalizing a baseball pitch count, and settling on the number of regional qualifiers for the state swimming and diving meet for 2016.

Per the football competition rules, a “midcourse” adjustment is to be made in the second year of a four-year alignment. In order to be considered for adjustment, the four-year average enrollment (including 2015-16 data) would have to be within the boundaries of another class, and the school shall have had at least a 10 percent change in four-year average enrollment during the two-year period.

Upon review of the data, only two schools fit the criteria to be placed into a different class, and the Board unanimously approved the movement of Moore HS to Class 4A, District 3 and South Warren HS to Class 5A, District 2 beginning with the 2017 season. In addition, the Board approved the placement of the new Fayette County HS in Class 6A, District 7 and Floyd Central HS in Class 3A, District 6 effective with the 2017 playing season.

The Board also reviewed the current structure of the football playoffs, eventually electing to continue cross bracketing playoff games in the first round (versus playing intra-district beginning in round 1) for classes 2A through 6A through the 2018 season. The Association will survey administrators of the Class 1A schools to determine their preference for cross bracketing in the playoffs due to extreme travel concerns that have been expressed.

Starting next season (2016), the pairings in Class 5A will be alternated, as they have been in Class 6A, with the pairings developed to ensure that when the same teams meet as number 1 seeds in consecutive years in rounds 3 or 4, the home/host team is not the same both years. The pairings in Class 2A, 3A and 4A will continue as historically done, with Region 1 paired with 2, 3 paired with 4, 5 paired with 6 and 7 paired with 8 for 2016. A decision on the pairing format for 2A, 3A and 4A for 2017 and 2018 will be determined prior to the May Board meeting.

During its November meeting, the Board heard a first reading on proposed baseball pitch count restrictions based upon recommendations from sports medicine and research groups. On Thursday, the Board approved a second reading of the pitch count restrictions in the continued interest of student-athlete health and safety, with implementation to begin with the 2016 playing season. These new guidelines are the preferred method of minimizing the incidence of pitching related injuries due to overuse, and will replace the innings limitation contained in the current competition rules.

The expansion of swimming and diving regions from five to nine this season necessitated a reexamination of the regional qualifying process for the state meet. Working in conjunction with the Swimming & Diving Advisory Committee, the KHSAA presented a proposal to the Board to expand the number of qualifiers to 40 in all swimming events while bringing 32 divers to the state competition from regional qualifying meets (two automatic qualifiers from each region and the best 14 at-large competitors) in 2016. The Board approved the measure and directed staff to conduct statewide data collection on diving participation, with results possibly leading to expansion of the diving field to 40 participants beginning in 2017.

In other action Thursday, the Board:

▪ Authorized the Commissioner to conduct field discussions regarding the future location of the girls’ state golf tournament.

▪ Continued its review for the adoption and implementation of Dance as a future sport-activity.

▪ Approved recommendations to increase the base fee paid to umpires in baseball and softball for postseason competition beginning in 2017.

▪ Heard a first reading of proposals on potential changes to KHSAA Bylaws to be submitted at the Annual Meeting.

▪ Reviewed the analysis of the required Financial Aid Report presented by staff and directed that a follow-up report on all deficient school reports be presented at the next meeting of the Board.

▪ Approved a recommendation to increase the licensing fee for officials to a $50 administrative fee effective with the 2016-17 school year, to help offset additional expenses to the Association caused by a pending requisite background check for each official and expansion of services provided by ArbiterSports.com.

Josh Moore: 859-231-1307, @HLpreps

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