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Joshua Wilson

Discussion on our current classification model used for football and ways to improve it

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In the last month, I have noticed quite a few teams move out of district play into independent status. This is leaving many issues to concern including the number of teams in a classification falling below minimum amount.

 

So here is a couple of questions to answer:

 

1. Do you agree with the current eight (8) classification model used by the FHSAA?

 

2. If you don't what, would be the best way to improve things? 

 

I have a few thoughts, but I have decided to take this to the masses.

 

- Josh

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The question depends on what do you want from FHSAA football I think.  If you want the FHSAA to make a lot of money, you make more classifications so that there are more playoff games.  If you want parity based on student population, you need more classifications.  If you want the truly best teams to make the playoffs, you need to contract classifications.  To be honest, I don't even know what I want.  I know that I hate that there can be a 3 team district and they get 2 playoff spots.  I pretty much feel the same way about 4 team districts and we were in one a few years ago.  Think about the level of unfairness.  In a 3 team district, you can be 1-9 and make the playoffs if your one win is a district win.  This year we played in a 7 team district.  Every game felt critical and we weren't guaranteed the one seed until the 5th of 6 district games.  Personally, I found this a way more enjoyable way to go through the season.  Also district 8 from 6A has 9 schools but two playoff spots.  Seriously!  By placement in that district you have a 22% chance of making the playoffs as opposed to a 67% chance in a 3 team district.

 

What can be done?  The easiest thing would be to contract down to about 6 classifications.  This will expand the enrollment of each classification allowing for easier geographical districts.  On twitter the other day, I proposed that each district get a number of playoff berths based off how many teams are in it.  6 classifications would help to avoid 3 and 4 team districts but let's say it is unavoidable due to geography.  That district only gets 1 automatic playoff berth and the other berth goes either to the large district that had to compensate by having 7+ teams OR it goes back to the wild card they used to have the in the 90s and early 00s.  I know wild card by record is flawed but it is better than sub-.500 teams in the playoffs.  The super district idea posed by the FHSAA a few years ago was something I really liked but it was scrapped due to travel concerns I believe.  Those were tougher economic times and maybe we should relook at that.  Also, for people worried about playoff travel, right now the playoff money is split after the home team pays expenses.  What if it was split after the home team pays expenses and the visitor's buses were paid for.  Seems like a pretty easy fix.

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I think teams shouldn't be chained to the class that their enrollment states. I know teams petition to move up, but I think if a team has less than a .333 winning percentage during a cycle , then the FHSAA can move them down if it fits logistically.

 

And if teams have a winning percentage of .850 then I think they can be moved up. That way your not just bound by enrollment, but rather give enormous flexibility to even the playing field.

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I think teams shouldn't be chained to the class that their enrollment states. I know teams petition to move up, but I think if a team has less than a .333 winning percentage during a cycle , then the FHSAA can move them down if it fits logistically.

 

And if teams have a winning percentage of .850 then I think they can be moved up. That way your not just bound by enrollment, but rather give enormous flexibility to even the playing field.

 

What if we gave private schools a multiplier like 1.5?

 

I know some states do that.

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The question depends on what do you want from FHSAA football I think.  If you want the FHSAA to make a lot of money, you make more classifications so that there are more playoff games.  If you want parity based on student population, you need more classifications.  If you want the truly best teams to make the playoffs, you need to contract classifications.  To be honest, I don't even know what I want.  I know that I hate that there can be a 3 team district and they get 2 playoff spots.  I pretty much feel the same way about 4 team districts and we were in one a few years ago.  Think about the level of unfairness.  In a 3 team district, you can be 1-9 and make the playoffs if your one win is a district win.  This year we played in a 7 team district.  Every game felt critical and we weren't guaranteed the one seed until the 5th of 6 district games.  Personally, I found this a way more enjoyable way to go through the season.  Also district 8 from 6A has 9 schools but two playoff spots.  Seriously!  By placement in that district you have a 22% chance of making the playoffs as opposed to a 67% chance in a 3 team district.

 

What can be done?  The easiest thing would be to contract down to about 6 classifications.  This will expand the enrollment of each classification allowing for easier geographical districts.  On twitter the other day, I proposed that each district get a number of playoff berths based off how many teams are in it.  6 classifications would help to avoid 3 and 4 team districts but let's say it is unavoidable due to geography.  That district only gets 1 automatic playoff berth and the other berth goes either to the large district that had to compensate by having 7+ teams OR it goes back to the wild card they used to have the in the 90s and early 00s.  I know wild card by record is flawed but it is better than sub-.500 teams in the playoffs.  The super district idea posed by the FHSAA a few years ago was something I really liked but it was scrapped due to travel concerns I believe.  Those were tougher economic times and maybe we should relook at that.  Also, for people worried about playoff travel, right now the playoff money is split after the home team pays expenses.  What if it was split after the home team pays expenses and the visitor's buses were paid for.  Seems like a pretty easy fix.

 

You know I like the idea of district champs getting the automatic berths then wildcard everyone else. 

 

6 classifications would sound great or maybe 7, but the FHSAA says 1A is working as intended to for the rural schools and I believe it is working based upon the fact we have had 5 different teams compete in the last three years in that class with three different winners. Shows that anyone can win in that Class. Now we need to show for it in the rest of them.

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The FHSAA, just like any business, will only make decisions based on money and not the concern of the product making them the money.

 

I can bet you anything they don't sit around saying how can we make it easier on teams, but rather how can we make the most money.

 

Honestly, the FHSAA will only compact the classes down if 1 of 2 things happen. The same amount of total playoff games are played. OR the money they receive from the playoff games is increased to make up for the loss of games.

 

There are 96 games in the 1st round of the playoffs. You would have to figure out how to compact the top 6 classes into 4 without lessening the amount of games under 96.

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The FHSAA, just like any business, will only make decisions based on money and not the concern of the product making them the money.

 

I can bet you anything they don't sit around saying how can we make it easier on teams, but rather how can we make the most money.

 

Honestly, the FHSAA will only compact the classes down if 1 of 2 things happen. The same amount of total playoff games are played. OR the money they receive from the playoff games is increased to make up for the loss of games.

 

There are 96 games in the 1st round of the playoffs. You would have to figure out how to compact the top 6 classes into 4 without lessening the amount of games under 96.

 

Right and that is where I am looking at....a Class 3A may have to be teams with 400-1100 enrollment.

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This is how Texas looks as for the 2014 alignment...tell me can't do this here (this minus the fact they split everything down from 4A and below, but if they were combined this would be the results)

 

6A - 2,100 and above

5A - 1,060 - 2,099

4A - 465 - 1,059

3A - 220 - 464

2A - 105 -219

1A - under 105

 

So a Class 3A here with a huge cap shouldn't be impossible although I know at lower classes you will have thinner rosters leading to disparity. 

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And you can't please everyone.

 

If some bad 3A teams with enrollments of 400-500 are unhappy who cares? It can't be perfect, and some teams will be at a disadvantage, but it's for the overall greater good.

 

This is very true...however, should I make a proposal with any of the independent teams possibly returning to district play or work with what I have based upon research knowing who is coming and who is going?

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I think 8 classifications are just right we just need to separate the Privates from the Public's. We need 2 separate classes for the Privates and charter schools, also if a public school accepts players from a local charter school the total enrollment of the charter school should be added to the public school enrollment for classification assignment.

 

Everyone can see how great the 1A rural division has worked out with large gates and community support, and we can also see how poor the attendance was at the 2A level with no community support, I guess what i am trying to say is with out the public schools support the private schools could not pay there way.

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Tigerfan...very interesting take. You are right about 1A and what it has done. Any privates over 1,000 I think should have a multiplier of like 1.25 or 1.5 and boot them up a class or two. But taking any privates under 1k and having two classes may not be a bad idea.

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Tigerfan...very interesting take. You are right about 1A and what it has done. Any privates over 1,000 I think should have a multiplier of like 1.25 or 1.5 and boot them up a class or two. But taking any privates under 1k and having two classes may not be a bad idea.

 

I would not have a problem with that, But what concerns me most is that currently if a charter school does not offer football then that student can play that sport at the local public school per FHSAA, On the surface this seams like a good thing but in the 1A rural class this could be devastating to the all the other schools in the same class.

 

Example

Madison county enrollment 2 years ago was over 700 and it is down to less than 600 due to the new charter school that opened 2 years ago, This new school takes local kids about 50 each year and those kids are allowed to play sports at Madison county high. So in reality last year Madison was 4A and next cycle the could be 1A and still field a team from two schools with a total population of over 700 if this allowed i think several schools would drop out of 1A and the whole thing would blow up. 

 

How do you fix that?

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TigerFan...you are on to something here, but the issue is much more complicated in terms of the charter schools.

 

There are areas where there is one charter school pulling from four or five different zones of a traditional high school. To combine the enrollments would not make sound sense. I can see what you saying in the sense of Madison County, but what you do to one you have to do for all and a solution as combing would not work.

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Josh I understand what you are saying and i agree with you about keeping the rules the same for everyone. Maybe the answer is that if the charter school does not offer sports then the students just have to sit out.

 

At the same time schools like Bell, Bronson, Branford, Hawthorne, cottondale, Graceville should have to compete with Madison county or a Trinity Catholic. 

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Madison County would be the only school and Taylor County would be likely to join 1A if their numbers fall in line. Trinity Catholic would not be eligible at all for 1A Rural. I have to ask though how seriously Madison County would damage 1A though considering if you look at it they went 5-5 and miss the playoffs. The numbers would have be studied to see what the impact is here.

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Madison County would be the only school and Taylor County would be likely to join 1A if their numbers fall in line. Trinity Catholic would not be eligible at all for 1A Rural. I have to ask though how seriously Madison County would damage 1A though considering if you look at it they went 5-5 and miss the playoffs. The numbers would have be studied to see what the impact is here.

 

I agree but Madison had a down year and played a 4A schedule, Dont fool yourself they would have smoked everyone in 1A except maybe Trenton and Dixie even with a down cycle, How far back do you have to go to find another season that Madison missed the playoffs?

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I also have to ask if the success of Class 1A is sabotaging the rest of the lowest four classes. Just five years ago when we had eight classes and no rural class there was only 39 teams independent.

 

I dont think so but i do think that it opened some eyes in the lower classes and they want to get away from the private schools also. You know where recruiting is the new marketing!!!!!!!!

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Just had a talk with Madison County's head coach about regarding the Charter School that is in Madison.

 

First because the Charter School does not offer sports they are required to count the Charter School numbers in for the enrollment numbers by the FHSAA.

 

Second, the Charter School does not have 200 kids. That number is only in the high 30's and out of those 30 plus kids only two are playing football for the school.

 

Glad to have some facts and the FHSAA does have rules to help account for charter schools without sports. 

 

So even if Madison went to Class 1A in the next cycle (its a borderline situation) I really don't think Class 1A would have much to worry about and I myself would welcome to see some new teams add to the current fold. 

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