BASS Unveils Qualifying Structure for 2012 Bassmaster Classic, Elite Series

BASS announced Monday a new qualifying structure for the 2012 BassmasterClassic and Bassmaster Elite Series, expanding the Classic field toinclude an enhanced cross section of anglers and putting an increasedemphasis on performance in single events.
My comments and thoughts highlighted in red below where I have a take.

While the overall number of Classic spots (36) awarded through the EliteSeries will remain unchanged, in 2011 each Bassmaster Elite Seriesregular-season event winner will receive an automatic berth into the2012 Classic. The Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year standingswill still determine the majority of the Classic qualifiers as the top28 in those rankings will also advance to the Classic.
All the more reason to fish for the Win, guys like Kevin Short wished this rule would’ve been in effect for this year.  I like this twist!

Following the Elite format, each of the nine Open event winners willreceive automatic spots in the 2012 Classic. With each pro-level eventwinner receiving a Classic berth, BASS has upped the cache of the BassPro Shops Bassmaster Opens by allocating nine Classic berths, up fromsix, to the Series. The traditional points system used in the Opens willonly determine future Elite Series qualifiers and will have no bearingon Classic berths.
Not sure, if I am all behind this, but could increase participation, since you are never out of it and could increase jack-potting by locals at events.  I kind of like rewarding the best over 3 total events, but I can live with it.

The Classic field will increase to 54 – assuming all competitors are ingood standing – clearing the way for a guaranteed entry for the 2011College Bass Champion. The entire qualifying structure, for both theElites and the Classic, can be found below.
I think a few more anglers is good, as long as they don’t get too much larger, if its 75 anglers in a few year, loses prestige.

Providing a dedicated avenue for the College Bass Champion, again to beheld in Little Rock, AR, in 2011 and aired on ESPNU, will enhance theprofile of college bass fishing and represent an added, youth componentto the Classic. There are currently 220 colleges registered to competeto qualify for the 2011 College Championship. The qualification processfor college anglers can be found at
Good for the sport, although, not sure how “qualified” these anglers are, guess we will see how they fair in Classic.  Wonder if any pros, will return to school to fish????

The defending Classic champion will automatically qualify as in yearspast. Additionally, six Federation Nation anglers will continue toqualify as well as the Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Weekend Series Championoperated by American Bass Anglers. In the case of double-qualifiers,BASS will work down the Elite Series AOY list.
Good to see Federation Nation spots did not get trimmed

The 2011 Classic and Elite Series qualifying implications will remain aspreviously released. In 2012, the Elite Series field will encompass 90competitors. BASS has a renewed emphasis on restricting the Elites tosmaller fields, putting more focus on individual anglers and creatingincreased brand-building opportunities for the best anglers in theworld.
Like it!

As such, the 2011 Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year standingswill advance 73 anglers into the 2012 Elite Series. The top five inpoints standings in each of the three Open Series will also receive 2012Elite qualifying berths and if any of those competitors decline, BASSwill work down the Open standings to fill the five berths.Additionally, the 2012 Bassmaster Classic champion and the 2011Federation Nation Champion can elect to fish the Elites. Alldouble-qualifiers will work down the Elite Series AOY standings.

As BASS previously laid out, only active Elite anglers have threeexemptions – former Bassmaster Classic champions, former Toyota TundraBassmaster Angler of the Year winners and anglers with 10 or moreClassic experiences – that can be applied if an angler fails to qualifythrough the outlined avenues.

With the revamp of the qualifying structure, the 2011 Bass Pro ShopsBassmaster Open payout has also been revised. In addition to theClassic qualifying berth, the winner of each event will receive $10,000and a $45,000 boat package. The total prize package – including theClassic berth – reflects the prestige of scoring an Open victory.
I have heard some griping here, some guys want an all cash prize, but if sponsors are contributing boats, that is great for sport, also the winners will get an automatic $10k just for showing up to Bassmaster Classic, plus with that automatic berth and publicity, they should be able to convert that to additional cash.

Each event will pay through 40th place with a more even distributiontowards the lower rung. Additionally, with the allure of increasedClassic berths, the potential of sustained full fields throughout eachdivision increases.
This is good, and I think is direct correlation to boat for winner, better for more guys to make money at sport.

Entry fees will be slightly upped – $1,250 per event on theprofessional side and $350 per event on the co-angler side — but BASShas raised the stakes for Open anglers.

The Opens will only feature the top-12 pros and co-anglers on the finalday of competition, which at each event will be held at a convenientlylocated Bass Pro Shops.
LIKE IT!!!  Now they just need to open that new Bass Pro Shops by Mall of America in Bloomington, MN

2012 Bassmaster Classic qualifications:

2011 Bassmaster Toyota Tundra AOY Standings 28
2011 Bassmaster Elite Series Regular-Season Event Winners 8
2011 Bassmaster Classic Champion 1
2011 Bassmaster Southern Opens Event Winners 3
2011 Bassmaster Central Opens Event Winners 3
2011 Bassmaster Northern Opens Event Winners 3
2011 BASS Federation Nation Qualifiers 6
2011 Bassmaster Weekend Series Champion 1
2011 Bassmaster College Bass Champion 1

* Bassmaster Elite Series regular-season winners must compete in all2011 Elite competition days to be eligible for Classic berth
** Bassmaster Open event champions must compete in entire respective Open Series division to receive Classic berth
*** Defending Bassmaster Classic champion must compete in all Elite Series events to receive Classic berth

2012 Bassmaster Elite Series qualifications

2011 Bassmaster Elite Series Toyota Tundra Bassmaster AOY Standings 73
2011 Bassmaster Southern Opens Points Standings 5
2011 Bassmaster Central Opens Points Standings 5
2011 Bassmaster Northern Opens Points Standings 5
2012 Bassmaster Classic Champion 1
2011 BASS Federation Nation Champion 1

* Exemptions include former Bassmaster Classic champions, AOY titleholders and anglers with 10 or more Classic appearances as of March 1,2011. Must be an Elite angler in good standing to use.