CHAPEL HILL — After the fiasco that happened on the day it announced the football playoff bracket, the North Carolina High School Athletic Association’s board of directors approved several changes to the seeding process and other issues at its annual meeting on Thursday.
The biggest talking points from the meeting were how the NCHSAA changed its playoff seeding. Those new rules take effect starting with fall and spring championships that are upcoming.
How a team finishes in the conference will now take precedent to the MaxPreps rankings that were used for seeding purposes this past season. Teams that are automatic qualifiers based on their position in the conference’s top two spots will be seeded as the top seeds, then the third place teams will be put into the field and the same goes for the teams that finish fourth and fifth in a conference to fill out the rest of the field. The MaxPreps ranking will be used to select teams if there are too many fourth- or fifth-seeded teams in all the conferences to fit into the field.
Teams that finish outside the top two in each league will be seeded as wild cards and be ranked based on the MaxPreps rankings.
Split conference champions are not guaranteed a No. 1 seed in the playoffs now for winning their half of the league. Split conference champions, to earn a No. 1 or No. 2 seed in the playoffs now, must finish the season in the top three of their conference or finish above .500. This season the South Robeson football team won the Three Rivers Conference 1A title after defeating the two other 1A teams in the conference and finished the year 3-8 to earn a home playoff game as a No. 3 seed, and next season that will not be the case if a team was in the same situation.
Any team that wins their part of a split conference will still make the playoffs, but will be placed as a wild card.
Margin of victory was taken into account with the MaxPreps rankings during football seeding process, and the board of directors did away with that as a part of the rankings. MaxPreps will now do an “Adjusted MaxPreps Ranking” for the NCHSAA that it will base its seedings on that does not add margin of victory to the equation.
Football now has out-of-season skills developments like the other sports with a few regulations to follow. Workouts can involve as many athletes as the coaches want as long as it lasts shorter than 90 minutes and is outside of the NCHSAA dead periods. A licensed athletic trainer or first responder must be there if the players are wearing pads and helmets and there can be no body-to-body contact.
Teams originally had 10 days of workouts with unlimited players or unlimited days with 21 players.
Profanity from any players or coaches will result in an ejection as a part of the NCHSAA’s zero tolerance policy. The handbook was updated to say: “The NCHSAA will have zero tolerance within the confines of an NCHSAA event for the following: profanity of any kind, inappropriate language, racial or ethnic slurs, (sexist) or homophobic language.”
Also approved by the board of directors was the basketball regional locations. East Carolina and Fayetteville State will split the East regional contests and Wake Forest and UNC Greensboro will split the West regionals.
Jonathan Bym can be reached at 910-816-1977 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @Jonathan_Bym.