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FHSAA cuts games for next year

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By Jim Clark

The Florida High School Athletic Association is proposing some big changes in high school athletics for the next school year, cutting back on the number of regular season games allowed for each team in all sports except varsity football, and changing districts for sports other than football, whose new districts have previously been announced.

According to the FHSAA Web site posted on Tuesday, the number of varsity games in basketball, volleyball, baseball and softball will be limited to 20, down from the 25 now allowed. In JV football, only six games would be allowed. Junior varsity teams in the other sports would be limited to 15 games.

The proposal still has to be adopted by the FHSAA board of directors.

Along with the announced cuts, the FHSAA listed the final districts for basketball and volleyball.

Williston will play in Class 3A with Fort White, Newberry, Alachua Santa Fe and Live Oak Suwannee.

The changes could have a devastating effect on schools that run tournaments and one-day shootouts.

The effect on boys basketball can be seen by adding up this past year's games. Williston played 10 district games, but now will play only eight. However, the Red Devils played in the Kingdom of the Sun (4 games), Tim Brinkley Memorial (three games), Cape Shootout in Cape Coral (1 game plus a game the night before), and the Dante Anderson Shootout at Eastside (1 game). That's a total of 10 games. If they were to play the same tournament schedule next year, that would leave only two games for non-district opponents.

Foes out of district this past year included Dr. Phillips, The Rock, Eastside, Trinity Catholic and Santa Fe (now a district rival).

As bad as that is, it's much worse for Bronson and Chiefland boys basketball.

The FHSAA has set up a nine-team district, including the two Levy County schools, along with Bell, Branford, Dixie County, Hawthorne, P.K. Yonge, St. Francis and Trenton.

That means 16 of the 20 games allowed would have to be district games.

If Chiefland and Bronson each played in the Bronson Christmas Tournament, and each played three games, that would leave only one game each to be played during the regular season out of district.

The next FHSAA board meeting is in April.