The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

February 6, 2013

OSSAA gives approval to 6A changes

By Michael Swisher, Special to the News & Eagle
Enid News and Eagle

OKLAHOMA CITY — Class 6A football saw a monumental shift take place Wednesday and the result will likely give schools like Enid a better shot at winning a state championship.

The Oklahoma Secondary Schools Activities Association Board of Directors opted to send two proposals to current 6A schools, giving them a choice of just how to make that change.

But one thing became certain when the board made its unanimous decision: Class 6A will have a new look beginning in 2014.

“The playoff structure within Class 6A is definitely going to change,” said OSSAA Executive Secretary Ed Sheakley.

Both plans will split the current 32-team class into two 16-team classes based on enrollment.

The plans were prepared by the Constitution and Rules Revision Committee and represented a revised version of the proposal of a "Class 7A" recommendation that was presented in  December.

That initial proposal was rejected and sent back to the committee for further review. The committee met again Jan. 22 with input from a previous meeting of 31 of the 32 current 6A schools’ coaches and athletic directors.

Edmond Schools Athletic Director Mike Nunley was a part of that process.

“There was a lot of research and a lot of opinions that were shared,” Nunley said. “The committee was very open and very educated in the process and a lot of data was presented.”

Both proposals keep 32 teams in Class 6A and split it into two divisions based on the average daily membership (ADM). Both also have eight teams advancing to the playoffs and crowning a state champ in each division, but go about it in different ways.

Plan 1 splits Class 6A into two 16-team divisions with Division 1 comprising the 16 largest schools based on ADM and Division 2 being the next 16.

Each division would have two eight-team districts and the top-four finishers in each district would move on to the playoffs.

However, Plan 2 is a bit more complicated.

It splits 6A into four eight-team districts and each team would play the other seven in its district, just as it is done now.

However, four teams in each district will be from Division 1 (the largest 16 schools) and four teams will be from Division 2 (the next 16).

Two teams from Division 1 in each district would advance to a playoff bracket, and two teams from Division 2 would move on.

Only games from a team’s district division would count toward the playoffs, meaning a team would only have three truly meaningful district games.

This plan is expected to help with some travel issues that may arise from splitting teams based solely on ADM (Plan 1).

Both plans would create a three-week playoff instead of the current four-week system, meaning the playoffs would begin a week later in order to have the same championship weekend or begin Week 11 and end a week earlier than usual.

Although a bye week would be considered during the playoffs to stretch them to four weeks, Nunley said most administrators involved were hesitant to implement that.

Sheakley told board members the playoff dates could be determined once a proposal was accepted.

Sheakley also said the plans will be put into ballot form and those ballots will be presented to the board at its March 13 meeting.

Should the board accept those ballots, they almost  will immediately be sent to the member schools, which will vote for one plan or the other.

Either way, change is coming to a class that has been dominated by Jenks and Union for nearly two decades.

“There’s been a desire for that classification to see some type of adjustment or change, so I think it’s nice the board reflected that and were able to do that,” Nunley said.

Using the 2012-13 ADM numbers on the OSSAA website, Enid currently is the 19th-largest district in the state, but would become the third-largest school in the proposed Division 2 of Class 6A.