Is it time for the state of Florida to establish a tournament champions for basketball?
We crowned eight state champs in boys basketball and eight in girls last season amid complaints that we have too many.
Now we will have nine in basketball and nine in volleyball following an announcement this week from the FHSAA that it was expanding the field for the next school year. Things are still tentative with schools having a right to appeal.
The biggest basketball change occurs in the new Class 3A District 5 that includes Bradenton Christian, Saint Stephen's and Out-Of-Door-Academy along with Imagine School of North Port, Gulf Coast HEAT and Sarasota Christian.
What officials essentially did was create a new class at the bottom and move everyone up.
Lakewood Ranch, Braden River, Palmetto, Venice and Sarasota, which competed in 7A-11 in basketball will now be together in 8A-11.
Manatee and Sarasota Riverview will be in the same district again going from 8A-7 to 9A-6. Southeast and Bayshore move from 5A-11 to 6A-11 with the same teams.
The numbers were clean and simple with eight state champs. It would only take three days for each gender to have a tournament of champions.
If we did that this year, the unofficial consensus among state hoop scholars
is that Grandview would win the boys division. The Pride took out Bradenton Christian in the 2A state final and during the season handily defeated Sarasota Riverview, which made it to the 8A final before losing by only four points to Coral Springs.
It's going to be a little more complicated next season going to nine state champions in boys and girls basketball. But it's another reason to have a tournament of champions.
If a school doesn't want to participate it doesn't have to and if we have nine participants we can have a play-in game between seeds eight and nine and go to a quarterfinal from there.
Classes 5A through 9A will have a minimum of 83 schools in 8A and maximum of 89 in 9A. Class 1A through 4A will have a minimum of 51 schools in 4A and a high of 57 in 3A.
Volleyball is similar for the 2016-17 school year.
The new Class 3A-5 will include BCS, Saint Stephens and ODA, which helps cut down on travel.
Manatee and Riverview (Sarasota) move to 9A-6 while 8A-11 will be comprised of Lakewood Ranch, Braden River, Palmetto, Sarasota and Venice. Southeast and Bayshore move to 6A-11 with the same teams.
Why at FHSAA basketball games do they introduce the players with an opening salvo: And the non-starters for XYZ are so and so.
High school sports are supposed to be build confidence so why does this state-mandated introduction still hold. Just introduce the players and when you get to the starting lineups say and now the starters for XYZ are.
Bayshore Athletic Director Chris Brady said his school hopes to hire a head football coach next week at the latest. He said there were about 78 applicants and 12 were interviewed with a final five or four to be interviewed for a second time.
Alan Dell, Herald sports columnist/writer, can be reached at 941-745-7056. Follow him on Twitter @ADellSports.