Feb 5, 2011
This past fall, the N.C. High School Athletic Association implemented a new playoff system to help cut down on the amount and cost of travel.
The pod system was devised and passed last spring by the N.C. High School Athletic Association Board of Directors. It breaks the state playoffs up into four regional pods - East, Mideast, Midwest and West - instead of the traditional two regional pods - East and West.
By separating the teams in smaller geographical regions, the NCHSAA aimed to shorten the driving time and cost of travel for teams in the earlier round.
Davis Whitfield, the commissioner of the NCHSAA, says the system did it's job.
"It took some criticism early on, but I think in the end the pod system did what it was supposed to do," Whitfield said.
Whitfield said the pod system saved about 8,000 miles for teams across the state in all subdivisions. But he admits it came with controversy.
"Some people and some coaches didn't like the big early match-ups in the playoffs, but I think the good outweighed the negative here," he said. "It helped save money for our schools."
Whitfield's predecessor, Charlie Adams, agreed.
"Something had to be done to help our schools," Adams said. "We wanted to avoid having teams from down east having to travel to the mountains in the early rounds."
Both Whitfield and Adams said the pod system needs to be given a chance.
"I think we need to get about three years of data on it before we revisit it," Whitfield said.
Adams said he thinks it's here for a few years.
"Things are really tough out there for the schools," he said ."I think we need to keep the system in place for a few more years at least."