The Alabama High School Athletic Association made some significant changes to some of its key sports on Wednesday afternoon.
The AHSAA’s Central Board of Control voted and approved changes to the sports of baseball, softball, soccer, football and bowling, beginning in the 2022-2023 school year.
For baseball, schools will change from competing in area play to region play with the top four teams advancing to the state playoffs. Currently, schools compete in area play with the top two teams advancing to the post-season.
For softball, softball teams will also switch from area play to region play. The top four teams in the region standings will advance to the Softball Regional Tournament.
Currently, softball teams play area tournaments at the end of the season with the winner and runner-up advancing to the Regional Tourney.
Soccer will also make the switch to regions, with the top four teams in each region advancing to the state playoffs. Currently, two teams from each area advance to the playoffs.
Bowling made some changes to how their regular season matches are played. Instead of playing a best-of-seven baker match like teams did this year, bowling will move to one traditional round and three baker rounds beginning next season.
Football had the smallest change that was approved. Based on NFHS recommendation, team boxes on the sidelines will now extend down to the 20-yard line. In the 2021 season, team boxes ended at the 25-yard line.
The biggest vote on the agenda was the approval of Pike Liberal Arts of Troy for membership to the AHSAA. Pike Liberal Arts has been competing in AISA. With the move, Pike Liberal Arts will be eligible to compete for a state championship in every sport except for football.
The football team will have to wait until the 2024-2025 school year to be able to compete for a state championship. That was due to the timing of the school’s application.
The Pike football team has won back-to-back AISA AAA football championships as well as the basketball team, which has won two straight championships.