CHAPEL HILL — For one season at least, the North Carolina High School Athletic Association is making some slight changes for how playoffs will be seeded in each team sport. Seeding for individual tournaments such as tennis and wrestling will not be affected.
The NCHSAA will be instituting what they consider a pilot program for the 2016-2017 athletic seasons by changing the process for how automatic bids are awarded.
Beginning next season, only teams that win their conference regular season champion and teams that win the conference tournament in sports that play conference tournaments will be awarded automatic playoff spots.
The remaining playoff spots will be filled based on the team’s winning percentage.
The main goal for this new rules change is to eliminate or greatly reduce the number of first round playoff games that end up being conference rematches.
According to the NCHSAA, the complete plan will be finalized during the North Carolina Coaches Association Clinic in Greensboro this July.
Another change coming up for the 2016-2017 athletic season is a move made in hopes to promote athletes playing multiple sports. According to a change approved by the NCHSAA Board of Directors,the “dead periods” at the beginning of each sports season have been extended to six weeks from the previous four-week rule.
At the same time, however, a restriction on the number of student athletes that can work with their high school coach during the school year and the sport’s off-season have been lifted. Sessions will be limited to 90 minutes per day during the offseason.
The NCHSAA announced three changes that will go into effect for the upcoming spring sports championships: The ticket price for the outdoor track championships went from $8 to $10, baseball and softball session prices are $8 for session one, $12 for session two and $8 for session three, and there must be three game officials in the baseball regional series.
Other changes include:
– Schools must designate a game-day administrator. If no administrator is named, the team’s head coach will assume that role.
– When utilizing the “8 quarter rule” the number of athletes a school can use during the regular season has been reduced from 12 to 10 for 1A and 2A schools and five for 3A and 4A schools.
– Dual team tennis, dual team wrestling and lacrosse will now be seeded based on number of contests allowed in each sport.
– In 2017-2018, the Wet Bulb Globe Temperature (WGBT) must be used in all instances regarding heat and humidity issues; recommended for 2016-2017 school year; additionally, readings must be taken by the LAT or the first responder not more than 30 minutes prior to the beginning of outdoor practices; subsequently, must be measured at every water break or every 30 minutes, whichever comes first
– Approved a position statement relative to sports wagering, to be included in the NCHSAA Handbook
– Date for membership dues to be submitted to the NCHSAA changed from Nov. 1 to Dec. 1; For each school the number used for determining the amount due will be the same as the enrollment number posted and used for seeding football; the annual school fee of $100 will continue as a requirement.
– Each school with a diving program must have its head diving coach pass a diving test for judges prior to serving on any NCHSAA diving judges’ panel.
– Decreased the amount of the NCHSAA share in the 4th round of soccer from 25 percent to 15 percent.
– Authorized establishing a scholarship program specific to cheerleading team members as part of the Cheerleading Invitational experience. Criteria to be developed by the NCHSAA staff.
Nathan Ham can be reached at 336-489-3062 or followed on Twitter @NathanHam87