"There is no perfect plan for playoffs but this new plan is as good as it gets."
TOPEKA — While it was far from unanimous on either vote, the Kansas High School Activities Association (KSHSAA) member schools ultimately approved reclassification of schools for competition beginning the 2018-19 school year in all sports. Only two McPherson County schools appear to be effected, Smoky Valley and McPherson, depending on whether Moundridge can survive as an 11-man football school or is forced by numbers to drop to 8-man.
For the proposal to reclassify member schools in 4A, 3A, 2A and 1A in football, 215 schools voted in favor and 73 schools voted in opposition. Based on 288 member schools in those four classifications, only 145 votes were needed to pass. 6A and 5A schools were not included in the vote as they are unaffected by the change. Accordingly, the change to Classification of Senior High Schools Rule 5, Section 2, Article 1, and the change to Football (Boys) Rule 35, Section 2, Article 3 approved by the Board of Directors in April by a vote of 56-11, will become effective with the September 2017 football classifications, for competition in the 2018-19 football cycle.
The two biggest changes locally will have Smoky Valley dropping to 3A in football with the elimination of 4A II and McPherson no longer being placed in a district as a 4A school but playing eight at-large games, with playoffs beginning in week nine as teams in both the east and west will be seeded 1-16. One other area change of note would have 3A football power Hesston dropping to 2A.
"I was supportive of the realignment for football," said McPherson high school head football coach Jace Pavlovich. "There is virtually no change in terms of classification and enrollment. What I do like is the eight game season and the seeding for week nine. There is no perfect plan for playoffs but this new plan is as good as it gets."
For the proposal to reclassify member schools in all activities other than football, 207 schools voted yes with 145 schools voted no. Based on 352 member schools 177 yes votes were needed to pass. Accordingly, the change to Classification of Senior High Schools Rule 5, Section 2, Article 1, approved by the Board of Directors in April by a vote of 52-15, will become effective with the September 2018 classifications, for competition in the 2018-19 school year.
Once again the change appears to only effect two McPherson County schools directly, Smoky Valley and McPherson, with the Vikings dropping to 3A and McPherson moving back up to 5A along with Andover Central and Maize South.
The biggest implications for all schools in Kansas are changes to the playoff formats and/or number of teams included in postseason play. Any playoff formula, including the current one, can be complicated and debated however, it appears one of the main goals of the reclassification was allowing more teams to compete with teams on their level to not only get into postseason play but have the opportunity to actually bring home a title. That goal, at least on paper, seems to have been met, according to most.
Now, with the votes in and the decision made, it's time to start focusing again on the one group of people who couldn't care less about reclassification, the athletes. They just want to go out and compete, be the best they can be, and enjoy their high school experience. Let's hope the politics of high school sports never changes that.
Contact Matt Cole by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @MacSentinel.