Super 6 moves to Auburn/Tuscaloosa

Published 9:04 am Thursday, April 9, 2009

The Alabama High School Athletic Association’s Central Board of Control at its Spring Meeting Wednesday, April 8, approved a six-year agreement to move the AHSAA Super 6 state football championships to Tuscaloosa and Auburn and keep the Final 48 Basketball Championships in Birmingham.

The cities of Tuscaloosa, Auburn and Birmingham submitted proposals in February to host the games. The Central Board accepted the proposals at Wednesday’s meeting held at the AHSAA office in Montgomery.

“Details of both contracts are still being worked out,” said AHSAA Executive Director Steve Savarese.

The Super 6 Championships will now be played in Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa and Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn on a rotating basis through 2014, starting this December at Bryant-Denny Stadium. The Super 6 Championships have previously been held at Birmingham’s Legion Field every year since 1996. Prior to 1996, the Class 6A state championship game was held at Legion Field but the other five classifications played at home sites.

Also approved was a new six-year agreement to keep the Final 48 State Basketball Tournament in Birmingham at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex Arena. The Final 48 basketball tournament moved to Birmingham in 1994 and has been held there ever since. More than 50,000 fans paid to attend this year’s Final 48 state tournament, which alternates girls and boys games in all six classes each day.

Prior to moving to the BJCC, the boys state tournament was held at Tuscaloosa (and Auburn in 1993). The girls tournament had been held at Boutwell Auditorium in Birmingham, Calhoun State Community College in Decatur,, Jacksonville State University and Wallace-Hanceville Community College at various times. When the tournament moved to the BJCC in ’94, the AHSAA set up regional tournaments at four sites across the state. The regional tournament format will remain in place.

“This is exciting news for our schools and our children,” Savarese said. “The stadiums at Alabama and Auburn are among the best in the nation. The two cities are committed to making this event even bigger and better than it has been in the past. In addition, The City of Birmingham is pledging to make the Final 48 tournament for our basketball teams an even more memorable experience for everyone.”

Glencoe High School principal Moe Smith, President of the AHSAA Central Board, said the efforts of a lot of people have made the change in venues possible and have made these championship events important in the state.

“I want to thank the City of Tuscaloosa and the Tuscaloosa Sports Foundation, the Cities of Auburn and Opelika and the Auburn/Opelika Tourism Bureau, and the City of Birmingham and the Greater Birmingham Convention and Visitors Bureau as well as both the University of Alabama and Auburn University for their diligent efforts during this process,” said Smith. “I also want to thank Birmingham for its role in making the Super 6 and Final 48 events what they are today. As we move forward, we see this new arrangement with each city as one that will take our championships to new heights.”

In other action, the Central Board:

* Approved a stiffer penalty for student-athletes coming off the bench during a sports contest. The penalty will now include a fine as well as a suspension equal to 20 percent of that sport’s regular season contests.

* Approved a new STAR Sportsmanship Behavioral Mandate for middle school student-athletes eligibility. The current program is only mandated as part of the eligibility requirement for student-athletes playing high school sports.

* Approved the football playoff bracket’s adjoining regions format for one more year with a rotation beginning in the third round.

* Approved a service card for sports officials who have worked for 30 or more years. The card will allow them admission into all AHSAA athletic events.

* Approved reinstating the tie-breakers used prior to last fall for all sports, beginning with the 2009-2010 school year, with one addition. In three-way ties when two teams are tied above a third team, the winner of their head-to-head competition would rank above the other and settle the tie. Then the lowest-ranked team in that tie would go head-to-head with the one remaining third team to settle any remaining ties.

The Legislative Council approved three of 11 proposals in its annual spring meeting.

Proposals passed were:

* Tie-breaking procedures must be completed at the time that reclassification occurs.

* Beginning July 1, any new school accepted for membership will follow AHSAA rules beginning with the date of acceptance.

* Swimming and Diving is not limited to the number of outside events a student may participate in under the Independent Rule.