Football play-offs to change

Thursday, May 31, 2007

The separate play-off system for public vs. private schools seems to have gotten all the attention of this year's Missouri State High School Activities Association (MSHSAA) voting, but there was another proposal that could also affect Missouri greatly.

The proposal to expand Missouri's high school football play-offs to include the district winner and runner-up was passed this past voting period by a vote of 169-91.

The new system will allow for teams such as Cassville (8-1) from last year to make the play-offs despite not winning their district.

When asked about the new format, Coach David Large said, "I think it is great to give more high school athletes and fans the opportunity to experience the play-offs."

"Our coaching association is hoping to eventually get to the point where two teams from the same district could not meet again until the semifinals," added Large.

Under the new system, teams from the same district could possibly meet again in the second round of the pla-offs. The system Coach Large is advocating is much like the Kansas play-off format.

Former Cassville assistant football coach Don Epps, who now is a head coach in Kansas, had this to say about their system.

"It gives a whole lot more kids a chance to get to experience the play-offs, and it helps to prevent a good team from getting left out of the playoffs," said Epps.

The current format in Kansas has been in place since 2002.

Many specifics have not yet been worked out for the new system in Missouri as implementation is still more than a year away, but many are worried that this will extend the football season. However, it has been reported that teams will simply get one less week of practice instead of extending the season.

The new system will begin with the 2008 school year and will be on a trial basis for the first four years.

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