A Case Study on the Current Two Class System

Participation by the Numbers:

As stated on the previous page in theory "two classes, divided evenly by participating schools" should yield a large school classification which has 161 competing schools and a small school class which has 161 competing schools.

Based on this season's Region meet results here are how many schools participated.

Regional Cross Country Meets:

Region

Large Boys

Large Girls

Small Boys

Small Girls

1

20

16

7

4

2

18

14

7

5

3

14

13

9

7

4

15

12

5

4

5

19

10

10

3

6

19

15

10

6

7

11

10

7

7

8

8

8

5

5

Total

124

97

62

41

As a team, to qualify for state in Cross Country, you must finish in the top 3 in your region. There should be 24 teams in both classifications and genders at the state meet. Small School Girls this year only had 20 teams compete. Small School Boys only had 22.  To account for the missing teams on the girls end it appears as though LEAD Academy qualified out of Region 5 automatically being one of only 3 teams to run a region meet with 5 runners but only 2 runners ran at the state meet. Their top runner at the Region meet finished 24th overall so neither runner would've qualified as an individual had they not "qualified as a team." They did not score as a team as a result. The other teams that "qualified" but didn't score as a team were Mitchell, Sequatchie, and Summertown who had 3 or 4 runners represented at the state meet. 

Similarly, as I did for cross country, I documented how many team participated in Sectional Qualifiers. If a Section had a Sub-Section I documented who participated in those as well. Again... there should be 161 Large Schools and 161 Small Schools.

 

Section

Participating Schools

Large Section 1

33

Large Section 2

35

Large Section 3

42

Large Section 4

42

Total

152

Small West

33

Small Middle

25

Small East

39

Total

97

 

Participation was better in both classifications in track and field but there is still a great disparity between them.

So why is there such a discrepancy between the number of theoretical participating schools and the number of actual participating schools? Every year the TSSAA releases participation numbers for every school and every sport. When you audit these schools by track and field and cross country you'll find that 51 schools have explicitly reported they will not be participating in Track and Field between 2014 and 2016 thus reporting 0 boy and 0 girl participants for those sports because since Cross Country and Track are classified in the same grouping as Golf and Tennis if a school has one golfer or one tennis player they still factor into the 322 theoretical programs for the running sports.  If you dig a little deeper 14 more schools beyond those have not participated in Sub-Sectional or Sectional Qualifiers either in the same time frame.

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