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NCISAA makes playoff changes beginning with 2012 fall season

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on July 13, 2012 11:23 AM


News-Argus Sports Editor

The times are a-changin'.

Especially on the N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association scene.

Proposals for reduction in playoff-qualifying teams for all sports, except softball, and abandoning the flight system in the state tennis tournament received approval during the Association's summer meeting.

"That will be pretty interesting," Wayne Country Day athletics director Michael Taylor said.

All postseason tournaments were sliced to 12 teams with the top four teams receiving an opening-round bye. Softball will remain an eight-team, double-elimination tournament due to the small number of schools that sponsor the traditional spring sport.

Taylor went one step further with baseball.

He suggested adding a playoff date to the calendar, which would eliminate the current final four format and put less stress on teams' pitching staffs. The semifinal-round games would be contested at the higher seed and the two winners would get at least two days of rest before playing the best-of-three state championship series.

The Chargers reached the final four a year ago and played three games within a 24-hour span. They finished runners-up to perennial Class 1-A powerhouse Lawrence Academy, which claimed an unprecedented fifth consecutive state crown.

"You're not playing all those games in a short matter of time," Taylor said. "I really believe you will have a better state championship series because all of the teams will have their pitchers available. I think it's going to a level playing field now ... more beneficial on the 1-A and 2-A levels."

The Board of Managers approved Taylor's idea.

The change in the tennis playoffs drew some resistance.

The NCISAA crowns champions in six singles flights and three doubles flights. Taylor said the Board approved the dual-team playoff format that was adopted by the N.C. High School Athletic Association in 1990.

"It becomes more of a team sport now instead of individual," Taylor said. "A lot of teams are showing up with just one or two girls who play singles and doubles, and in some instances get more points than a school that brings an entire team.

"The 1-A schools will test the new format."

The 2-A individual tournament remained intact, while 3-A schools employed the dual-team system a few years ago.

Taylor said the Board tossed around the idea of adding a fourth classification this fall. Enrollment numbers have increased in some metropolitan areas, while the some of the rural schools -- particularly eastern North Carolina -- have experienced a small decline.

The Board adopted the concussion policy used by the NCHSAA.

Taylor said that Faith Christian of Rocky Mount would join the Eastern Plains Independent 2-A Conference in the fall. The Coastal Plains Independent Conference is now comprised of WCDS, Greenfield, Oakwood, Epiphany and Freedom Christian.

"It was a great meeting and I learned a lot through it," said Taylor, who is serving the first of his three years as the CPIC representative on the Board of Managers.

The Board will meet again in September and January 2013.