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See the news release here
Why was it done?
Primarily to erase the enrollment disparties happening at the state level currently for A, AA and AAA championships.
For example, Briar Woods captured the AA, Division Four state title last season in football with an enrollment of 1,752 students while the AAA, Division Five state champion Phoebus Phantoms came from a school with an enrollment of 1,193.
What does it all mean?
For the regular season, the impact appears minimal at this point. Most schools will likely continue to compete in their current districts and will likely play their neighboring or traditional rival programs.
What the changes will affect is the postseason.
The schools have been divided up, stricly by enrollment, into six classes -- 6A, 5A, 4A, 3A, 2A, and 1A.
Each class has been divided into sectionals*. For 6A, 5A and 4A, the sectionals have been split into "North" and "South". For 3A, 2A, and 1A, the divisions have been made into "East" and "West".
See the new structure here
Before going further, understand that their will be one postseason procedure used for football and a different procedure used for other sports / competitons.
Let's start with football...
Using the power points system**, sixteen teams from both sectionals will advance to the postseason and be seeded into brackets.
Those teams will play until a champion is crowned.
Note: At this point, it has yet to be officially determined how the brackets will play out. One possibility would have the winner of the North play the winner of the South (or East versus West, if you will). Another would see the brackets played out until each has two teams left then a cross-sectional matchup would feature the highest seeded North team host the lowest seeded South team and vice-versa (again, East versus West, as well). A third, and more remote option, could see the teams play to a final four (two in each brakcet) then a re-seeding of the final four setting the state semifinal matchups.
Now, on to the other sports / competitions...
In addition to being divided up into sectionals, each sectional grouping has been broken down into conferences with geography being the primary consideration after enrollment.
Though exact details have not been officially announced, teams will advance from their regular season into conference play which will open the postseason.
From there, winners will advance to sectional play then on into the state championship level.
Again, exact details of the playoff structure are forthcoming.
*The term "sectional" may not have been officially accepted, at this point.
**Which will likely be a modified version of the one currently being used