PADUCAH, KY — On Thursday afternoon the Kentucky High School Athletic Association elected to adopt a new policy that will change the format of the boy’s and girl’s state golf tournaments starting next season.

With the new format, only each region championship team will be eligible to advance to the state tournament, which is down from including the top two teams from each region.

The state tournament will also take the top-7 individual qualifiers from each region, which is up from the usual top-3 individuals.

It will drop the total number of golfers participating from 156 to 144.

The topic of changing the layout of boy’s and girl’s golf across the state first began back in February. That included one proposal that was universally panned that would have eliminated the fifth member of each golf team that qualifies for the state tournament.

“It wasn’t broken,” said Eric Straub, a Paducah attorney, who spoke on behalf of the opponents at a hearing held on Wednesday.

It was then that the proposal went before the Kentucky General Assembly’s Interim Joint Committee on Education, which sided against the KHSAA and its commissioner, Julian Tackett.
However, the KHSAA went ahead and choose one of two options that were on the table.

“I am disappointed that the KHSAA did not table this issue and reconsider the proposed changes, despite the strong encouragement from members of the General Assembly serving on the Education Committee to do so,” Straub said. “The two options the Board considered were polar opposites. The one that was voted on is tailored toward individuals and the KHSAA has completely discredited the team aspect of high school golf. St. X, Trinity, and Male have a combined 34 state titles. Three of the most storied programs compete in the same region. This is not the only region adversely affected due to this. I hope the Commissioner will keep his word that they will continue to evaluate and gather data moving forward. We cannot figure out why something had to be done at this point in time. We would like to see the data on why the tournament was broken at 156. Capping the field at 144 eliminates two tee times, as players tee off the front and the back. The most disappointing aspect is that the KHSAA has now on two separate occasions ignored our request to include golfers in these decisions. This is a step backward for Kentucky high school golf, which has a deep rooted tradition of excellence.”

The KHSAA has not yet released a statement on the matter