TN football brackets can now be redrawn if mistakes found

8:03 PM, Jan 10, 2013   |    comments
Bernard Childress of the TSSAA Monday, July 16, 2012 in Nashville, Tenn. (GEORGE WALKER IV / THE TENNESSEAN)
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By Maurice Patton / The Tennessean

Steps were taken Thursday that will allow a high school football playoff bracket to be redrawn if a mistake is discovered.

The Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association's Board of Control voted 8-1 on a five-hour window after brackets are announced for errors to be reported to the state office.

Because of the misapplication of a tiebreaker, Cleveland was selected last fall as one of the 32 teams in the Class 5A bracket. Hours later it was found that Sullivan South should have been in the field instead.

To impact the fewest teams, Sullivan South - located in Kingsport in upper East Tennessee - was placed in Cleveland's bracket position and sent to Columbia for an opening-round game.

"No one felt worse than the people in this room when we found out," TSSAA executive director Bernard Childress said. "But we had to go back and do what the board had instructed us. In this system, we could have been sending Sullivan South to Memphis. We needed some direction."

Tiebreakers have been misapplied and teams have been replaced in prior brackets, according to TSSAA officials. However, the issues were not as far-reaching under the five-class system because the teams were selected for postseason play on a regional basis to start.

With the current six-class system, playoff teams are determined statewide and then separated into quadrants. Once the mistake was determined last fall, the only options were to redraw quadrants 1 and 2 - potentially changing the matchups for 16 teams - or send Sullivan South in Cleveland's place.

Brackets will be announced at 10 a.m. on the Saturday following the completion of Week 10's games on Friday. Teams will have until 3 p.m. to bring any errors to the state office's attention.

Another change is that all varsity games played through Week 10 of the TSSAA season by all opponents will be considered for tiebreaking purposes. Previously, only the first 10 games were counted.

One of Sullivan South's opponents, Enka (N.C.), played an 11-game schedule and finished 5-6. Initially, Enka gave Sullivan South one less team that had won 50 percent or more of its games, and Cleveland moved ahead on that tiebreaker. Once Enka's 11th game was ruled out, the team was 5-5, pushing Sullivan South ahead of Cleveland for the 32nd spot in 5A.

Extra officials: The board voted to expand football officiating crews from five to seven for the quarterfinals, semifinals and finals. The extra officials will be compensated from the TSSAA's playoff shares, and schools will not be responsible for any increase in pay.

Dollars down: The football postseason, minus the BlueCross Bowl championships, netted $30,833 less in 2012 than in 2011. The TSSAA cleared $745,692 for 2012, after clearing $776,525 the year before. Numbers for the BlueCross Bowl games were not available Thursday.

Postseason finances were also down for golf, girls soccer and cross country, relative to 2011. However, all of the sports made money. Volleyball showed an increase of $15,000 from 2011, and the cheer and dance competition netted nearly $6,000 more.

New member: Hendersonville Christian Academy was approved for membership in 2013-14. The school will compete in Division II-A and plans to participate in volleyball, boys and girls basketball, baseball and softball initially.

"We haven't been ready to make the move to play at the TSSAA level, but we feel we are ready now," said Hendersonville Christian athletics director and boys basketball coach John Taylor.

Upcoming schedule: The board approved the 2013-14 calendar that sets practice and competition dates in the various sports. Football practice will begin on Monday, July 29, with Week Zero games on Aug. 23. The BlueCross Bowl championships will be Dec. 5-7.

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