07/21/13 — Association's Board of Managers discuss tennis playoffs

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Association's Board of Managers discuss tennis playoffs

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on July 21, 2013 1:52 AM

The dual-team tennis format -- as expected -- generated debate during the annual Board of Managers meeting conducted by N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association.

The 3-A schools remained in favor of the system they've used for more than a decade.

The Association adopted the single-elimination tournament for 1-A and 2-A schools last season and used the guidelines instituted by the N.C. High School Athletic Association. Most of the 2-A representatives were "on the fence" regarding dual-team play after its experimental season, while the 1-A schools vehemently opposed the tournament. In years past, the 1-A and 2-A schools crowned state champions in six singles flights and three doubles flights.

"We did the dual format because in years past, the individual tournament took so long to play and a couple of years ago we were playing at 2 or 3 a.m. On Sunday," said Michael Taylor, athletics director at Wayne Country Day who has begun his second term on the Board of Managers.

"Going to the dual-team format eliminated extra time needed to play the individual tournament. I'd like to see us go back to some type of individual tournament, especially for the smaller schools."

Just 12 schools in the 1-A classification fielded a girls' team last fall, while eight schools had a boys' team. Taylor added that an individual tournament for 1-A gives everybody a chance to participate, which is one of the mission goals set by the NCISAA.

"Tennis is a team sport, but it's also an individual sport where those players can display their talents," Taylor said.

The Board agreed to revisit the tennis playoffs issue during its September meeting.

Cross country teams, especially on the 1-A level, could have their own state championship meet if the participation level increases. The Board said that eight or more teams would constitute a separate meet from the 2-A schools and also approved a run-five, score-three format for regular-season 1-A cross country meets this season.

Normally, five runners are needed to officially record a team score, but many 1-A schools can't field full teams due to participation.

Enrollment is rising in some schools and rapidly declining in other schools statewide. The Board adopted a 33-percent rule to determine class size for the 2014-15 school year. The biggest 33 schools in the Association will be classified 3-A, the next 33 will be 2-A and the remaining 33 will be 1-A.

Taylor said that The Epiphany School in New Bern, a third-year member of the Coastal Plains Independent Conference, will compete on the 2-A level this season. The remaining five CPIC schools -- Wayne Country Day, Greenfield, Oakwood, Freedom Christian and provisional member Pope John Paul Catholic HS -- will each retain 1-A status.

The Board made some minor adjustments to the playoff system and unanimously decided to reward regular-season conference champions with an automatic qualifying bid for the postseason. In years past, the playoff representatives have been determined through conference tournaments.

Taylor applauded the change.

"Because not every conference has a tournament, we felt like as a group that we didn't want to penalize the regular-season champion for having a bad game and losing out early in the conference tournament," Taylor said. "We feel like the regular season is more important and we need to look at the whole body of work, not just what happened in the tournament."

The Board also removed some seeding criteria for the basketball playoffs and placed most of its emphasis on head-to-head competition and common opponent results. Wins against teams in the tournament, strength of schedule and late-season performance remain in the formula, but hold less meaning.