EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the first part in a five-part series on how the FHSAA can cut the number of football classifications to seven and make things competitive again for the state.

Over the weekend I presented my opinion that the FHSAA needs to cut the number of classifications to seven to keep up competitive balance for teams trying to compete for a state championship.

Remember, this is a suggestion for the FHSAA to look at, if you like what you see from this, I would suggest voicing your opinion to them and more importantly to the Executive Board of Directors that makes the final decision in the process.

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Now this is where I get to explain how it can be accomplished.

First thing needing to be accomplished, is that the FHSAA Executive Board of Directors will need to have bylaws rewritten showing that football would be set at seven classifications, instead of eight.

Second, the percentage rules for how many teams would ended up where to evenly divide things as possible, would need  change to make a change to make a cut to seven classifications work.

Currently, the rules for evenly dividing up teams as much as possible under eight classifications follows as this:

– 2/3 of the teams or roughly 66.66% are placed in the highest four classifications.
– The remaining 1/3 of the teams or roughly 33.33% are placed in the lowest four classifications.

This is why you see the number teams now spread so thin among the lowest classifications in the current set up. It is these percentage rules that are causing issues.

What I have proposed for evenly dividing up the teams with seven classifications is this change to the percentage rules.

– 3/4 of the teams or 75% are placed in the highest four classifications.
– The remaining 1/4 of the teams or 25% are placed in the lowest three classifications.

There are 485 teams I have listed as teams that will be in or projected to be in district competition for the 2015-16 school year. Teams that recently dropped to independent after the season, usually have to wait a two-year period before reentering district play, so they are not included in the figure county. Also teams that are very likely to stay independent are not counted as well.

The enrollment numbers used for this comes from the 2013 FHSAA Student Population Report.

Keeping The Current Eight Classifications

Here is how things would look like if things stay at eight classes for the next reclassification cycle starting in 2015-16, using the current percentage rules.

Highest 4 Classifications – 323.301 or 323 teams
Lowest 4 Classifications – 161.6505 or 162 teams

Class # of Districts Student Population # of Schools
8A 16 2305 & up 81
7A 16 1911-2304 81
6A 16 1621-1910 81
5A 16 1234-1620 80
4A 16 780-1233 42
3A 8 373-779 42
2A 8 1-363 42
1A 8 600 & under (rural) 36

Here you would be looking at districts having at average of just five teams from Classes 5A to 8A while, averaging 5.25 teams a district from Classes 1A to 4A.

Nothing changes at all pretty much

In the seven classification setup using the proposed changes to the percentage rules here is how things would look like:

192 teams are still making the playoffs here and with the possible 485 teams in district play for 2015-16. that would be just nearly 40 percent of the 485 that will make the playoffs.

Proposal Reducing To Seven Classifications

Highest 4 Classifications – 363.75 or 364 teams
Lowest 3 Classifications – 121.25 or 121 teams

Class # of Districts Student Population # of Schools
7A 16 2247 & up 91
6A 16 1828-2246 91
5A 16 1496-1827 91
4A 16 787-1495 91
3A 8 363-786 43
2A 8 67-362 42
1A 8 600 & under (rural) 36

By simply reducing one classification, we can increase the average district size by one team to six. While Class 3A, 2A and 1A would still average roughly six teams per district as well.

The rural Class 1A does not change here in situation either. With Class 1A being highly successful for the FHSAA, there is no reason at all to make a change here.

The only thing that is different here is 8 less districts and 16 teams making the playoffs using seven classifications. However, 16 fewer teams likely means cutting out the teams that make it in the playoffs due to a weak district. That is what waters down the playoffs is when you have 2-8 or 3-7 teams making the playoffs because of their district. Is that fair to the teams that worked their tails off all year and just fall short with 6-4 or 7-3 records? No.

176 teams are still making the playoffs in this scenario and out of the 485 teams likely to be playing in a district in 2015-16, that is over 35 percent of the teams playing in the playoffs. That is plenty of teams playing in the playoffs if you ask this writer.

In the next part of this series tomorrow, I will show you what Classes 8A & 7A would look like under the seven classification model presented in this article.

DISCUSSION: Discuss below using facebook comments, or discuss this on The Varsity Message Board.

The Reclassification Series Proposal
Part I | Part II | Part III | Part IV | Part V