MHSAA eliminating 6-win requirement for prep football playoffs

Playoff teams will be chosen based more on strength of schedule come 2020

By Keith Dunlap - Graham Media Group

Big changes are coming to the state high school football playoffs starting in 2020. 

At its representative council meeting earlier this week, the Michigan High School Athletic Association approved changes to the selection process of teams for the high school football playoffs that will have a big impact on scheduling.

The selections of playoff teams will now be weighted more toward strength of schedule, quality wins and losses to better teams, instead of simply trying to win six games and automatically qualify. 

The MHSAA is altogether getting rid of the six-win requirement, and qualifiers will be selected based on a playoff-point average. 

The adjusted formula for playoff points will now include more points for beating larger schools and for losing to better opponents.

Previously, bonus playoff points were awarded only if a team beat an opponent. 

The MHSAA said the intent is to have teams schedule tougher opponents, rather than easier ones just for the sake of meeting the six-win requirement, which the organization feels has led to the breakup of several leagues and conferences. 

There are eight divisions for the prep football playoffs, with 32 teams in each division.

When there haven’t been enough six-win qualifiers, the 5-4 teams with the most playoff points have been selected to fill out the rest of the field. 

Teams that have losing records don’t qualify for the playoffs under the current system, no matter what their strength of schedule is. 

In addition to changes with the football playoffs, seeding will be introduced at the district level for the basketball and soccer playoffs starting in the 2019-20 school year. 

The top two seeds, determined by a computer formula, will be placed on opposite ends of the bracket to ensure they won’t play before the district final. 

To see the MHSAA's full release, click here. 

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