The AHSAA’s Central Board of Control announced several major modifications for the upcoming winter’s playoffs on Wednesday in an effort to limit the spread of COVID-19.
Basketball will see the most noticeable modifications of any of the winter sports.
Changes include playing a second sub-regional round at the site of one of the participating schools and then only one game — the regional final — will be held at the regional site instead of the normal two games. Class 7A teams will play a sub-regional game before moving to the regional final. They previously have not had a sub-regional round.
“When we looked at everything, we just didn’t feel like we could safely play 42 games in a 6-day period for the regionals as we’ve always done,” said Jamie Lee, the AHSAA’s director of basketball. “Through conversations with the Central Board and our basketball committee, we decided to play just the finals at the regional sites.”
Another change involves expanding the dates of the State Finals in Birmingham. The Finals will now begin February 26, instead of March 1, to help spread out the games. The last day of the State Finals is still scheduled to be March 6.
The State Finals will be split between the Bill Harris Arena at the Birmingham CrossPlex and UAB’s Bartow Arena due to ongoing renovations at the BJCC Legacy Arena. Crowds will be limited to 20 percent of the maximum capacity, 1,000 at the Bill Harris Arena and 1,200 at Bartow, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Another noticeable change will affect area tournaments. Each game will be played at the site of the higher seed instead of all games being played at one site. This will eliminate the need to clear the gym between games for maximizing attendance. Teams playing in the finals will advance to the sub-regional round.
- Indoor Track competition will still be a two-day event at the Birmingham CrossPlex, Feb. 5-6. Each of the four divisions will complete its meets in one day over the two-day period and all events will run as finals.
- Wrestling Championships are moving to separate weekends and at three sites with the super-sectional meets being eliminated. The sites will be Montgomery’s Garrett Coliseum (Class 1A/4A) and Birmingham’s Bill Harris Arena (7A) on Feb. 12-13. The Class 5A/6A Championships will be at Huntsville’s Von Braun Center on Feb. 18-20.
- Bowling regional tournaments were backed up a week and will be held at Vestavia Hills (North) and Spanish Fort (South) Thursday and Friday. The bowling championship is Oak Mountain Lanes, Jan. 28-29, and the format has changed, due to attendance restrictions. Each division will complete its championship in a one-day session.
For more information and all modifications approved for playoffs for all winter sports go to Winter Sports Rule Modifications.
“We are grateful for everyone’s understanding, their patience, and their flexibility,” Savarese said. “I’m just thankful for all the things that allow us to be able to hold these tournaments and allow these student-athletes to play the games they love. That is what we need to concentrate on.”