The FHSAA logo [Courtesy of the Florida High School Athletic Association]

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – In 2017, football teams in the playoffs were seeded for the first time ever in Florida based on a ranking structure of some kind.

From the start of that point in 2017, football teams in each region in Classes 5A through 8A were given top seeding purposes for district championships first taking up the No. 1 through No. 4 seeds while teams gaining at-large berths were seeded No. 5 through No. 8.

However, that might all be changing starting in the 2022-23 school year.

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For the upcoming Florida High School Athletic Association Board of Directors April meeting coming up on Monday, a recommended proposal has come forward from the FHSAA Athletic Directors Advisory Committee to make changes on seeding across all team sports starting next school year.

In the proposal initially advanced by the FHSAA’s Soccer Coaches Advisory Committee, they are seeking to have teams seeded No. 1 through No. 8 based only on the rankings while winning a district championship guarantees a team a place in the regional tournament and not automatically with a home game.

During the Athletic Directors Advisory Committee’s April meeting, the members of the committee were in support of expanding the proposal to all team sports as the committee felt this kind of seeding structure would create the best matchups for regionals, state semifinals, and state championship levels while also rewarding teams with an outstanding season while rewarding teams who win their districts.

The Athletic Directors Advisory Committee endorsed the proposal with a 14-0 vote in 2021 and with a 12-3 vote at the recent meeting earlier this month with FHSAA Executive Director George Tomyn endorsing the proposal.

EXAMPLE WITH HOW REGIONAL SEEDING NO. 1-NO. 8 WOULD HAVE LOOKED LIKE HAD IT BEEN IN PLACE FOR THE 2021 FOOTBALL SEASON:

CLASS 7A-REGION 2

Original seeding based on district champions getting Top 4 seeds:

1. Edgewater – .686
2. Martin County – .656
3. Melbourne – .623
4. Lake Gibson – .601
5. Lakeland – .688
6. Seminole Ridge – .604
7. Viera – .592
8. Bartow – .552

Seeding with only final ranking applied and district champions only guaranteed entry into the regional bracket, but not guaranteed an automatic first-round home game:

1. Lakeland – .688 (originally No. 5)
2. Edgewater – .686 (originally No. 1)
3. Martin County – .656 (originally No. 2)
4. Melbourne – .623 (originally No. 3)
5. Seminole Ridge – .604 (originally No. 6)
6. Lake Gibson – .601 (originally No. 4)
7. Viera – .592
8. Bartow – .552

As you can see here, the seeding order changed for the first six teams in the region which would have placed Lakeland No. 1 overall having the best RPI ranking while Edgewater, Martin County, and Melbourne all slid back one spot. Lake Gibson would have been a No. 6 seed instead of the No. 4 seed while Seminole Ridge would have moved up a spot to No. 5.

These were the original first-round playoff matchup for Class 7A-Region 2:

No. 1 Edgewater vs. No. 8 Bartow
No. 4 Lake Gibson vs. No. 5 Lakeland
No. 2 Martin County vs. No. 7 Viera
No. 3 Melbourne vs. No. 6 Seminole Ridge

Matchups had the proposed ranking order be in place for Class 7A-Region 2:

No. 1 Lakeland vs. No. 8 Bartow
No. 4 Melbourne vs. No. 5 Seminole Ridge
No. 2 Edgewater vs. No. 7 Viera
No. 3 Martin County vs. No. 6 Lake Gibson

In that, the only matchup that would have stayed the same was the Melbourne and Seminole Ridge matchup, but Lakeland would have been home against Bartow while Edgewater hosted Viera and Lake Gibson as a district champ faced another district champ in Martin County on the road instead.