OSSAA approves structure changes in four football classes | Sports

Since Class 6A split into two divisions based on registration, there has been a growing gap between the number of postseason games along the classification lines.

From part of the 2022 season, this will change.

As approved by the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association at its monthly board meeting, the three classes of eight districts – 2A, A and eight B men – will be split into two divisions, similar to what is already happening in 6A . This measure will not take place until the next biennial cycle of realignment in 2024 and 2025.

But starting with the latest realignment for 2022 and 2023, 6A will add two additional teams to the playoffs per district, leaving all but the bottom two teams out of the picture.

No changes will occur with 5A, 4A and 3A, all currently with four districts.

The decision came after a proposal from the Oklahoma Football Coaches Association and Oklahoma Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association was filed in March. OSAAA staff wanted to go from six to eight 6A teams in the playoffs.

“We’re not doing anything at six,” OSSAA director of football Mike Whaley said later Wednesday, noting the complication of a bye with passes. Each football playoff bracket has either been 16 or 32 teams, which are not divisible by six.

After some discussion, the board went with the recommendation of six.

The split of 2A, A and B will create 12 state championship games, nine in 11-a-side football.

Smaller schools will welcome the relief of one less playoff week.

“You go from five weeks of the playoffs to 6A where there were three, that’s a big gap,” said Gore coach Brandon Tyler, whose team is in Class A.

Haskell’s Phil McWilliams, whose football team will play the next two-year cycle as the highest enrolled school in Class A after dropping from 2A for 2022 and 2023, thinks relief from those classifications is overdue.

“There are so many teams in there and I think dividing 3A a few years ago caused more division than they thought because the 2A support was just amazing the last couple of years,” a- he declared.

Even dropping a class, McWilliams said the impact of eight district classes will be felt for another two years — but this time, in a way that benefits his team.

“We will have almost 40 players because our numbers in football are increasing,” he said. “At the other end of Class A, you have these 8-man limit teams that can have 18 kids. We will play some this year who will have as many.

Not everyone in 6A is excited about the playoff expansion.

Muskogee’s Travis Hill spoke about a recent text conversation he had with other 6A coaches and said most wanted to stay with four playoff teams.

“If there really was a fifth or sixth place team that had a competitive opportunity to win a championship and you could say that might open that up to some teams peaking at the right time maybe there is a case for that there,” he said.

“But in my opinion, he really didn’t need to be bigger. It all started with people having to split into 6A. If you had asked me, I would say there would be a better way to do it. Put the first 16 in 6A and 32 for all others, bringing in some 5A with the rest of the 6A. I think in time, Bixby, Owasso, Jenks, Broken Arrow, one of these days they’ll all go their separate ways. Eventually, 6A would take care of the expansion itself.

Had the change been in effect last fall, Ponca City and Muskogee would have been the other 6A playoff teams in the Roughers district. Muskogee reportedly opened up against third-place west side Edmond Deer Creek, who eventually made it to the finals where they lost to Bixby.

This year, Muskogee is in a district with Stillwater, Tulsa Washington, Sand Springs, Tahlequah, Bartlesville, US Grant and Putnam West.

“Our focus is nothing more than it was yesterday,” Hill said. “We want to be one of the top four teams in our district.”

One measure that will be effective for all classes in 2022 will be neutral venues for third round matches. Whaley said there’s a chance an allowance could be added as an incentive for venue-neutral game hosts. The OSSAA currently receives all ticket sales for the playoffs. The schools keep the revenue from the concession.

“There’s been some discussion about that for Thanksgiving weekend games and whether it’s time to add that allowance,” he said.

That, as well as the Championship weekend format from 2024, will be addressed in due course, Whaley said. Currently, only eight-man title matches are not held at UCO’s Wantland Stadium.

“We’ll have to see what their thought process is,” Whaley said.

Ida M. Morgan