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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

New Missouri playoff system underscores conference need

Saturday, April 9, 2011

NEVADA -- Nevada High School's need to join a conference again became more urgent after the Missouri High School Activities Association board of directors voted last weekend to change the format of the football playoff system starting in 2012. The 2011 season district playoff format will remain unchanged.

Under the new format the regular season will consist of nine games scheduled by each school. Currently schools only need to schedule seven games, with the final three games being district playoff games.

This means that Kevin McKinley, Nevada's athletic director, will have to work harder to fill the football schedule.

"If we were in a conference it's not a bad deal," McKinley said Friday afternoon.

However, since the Southwest Conference dissolved several years ago Nevada has been without a conference, and all attempts to join a conference have been rebuffed.

"If we're not in a conference, I have to find two additional games and it's been extremely hard to find seven," he said.

For the 2010 and 2011 seasons McKinley had originally scheduled games with Westport, however, it was one of the Kansas City schools that was closed in the summer of 2010. That left him scrambling to find a replacement, and he eventually was able to schedule a game with William Chrisman in Independence, Mo.

Without a conference Nevada can be put in the position of playing teams they do not want to play or having to travel a long distance to find an opponent.

"We've been fortunate not to have go north of the [Missouri] river," he said.

"Last year McDonald County had to play a JV team to fill their schedule," he said.

McDonald County, which was a member of the Southwest Conference with Nevada, was also unable to fine a conference affiliation after the SWC dissolved.

Under the new format district playoffs will begin in the 10th week when most teams will be assigned to eight team districts.

The exception to this will be Class 5 schools. Because of the way MSHSAA determines school classes, there are an odd number of schools in Class 5, so the number of teams per district will be decided by the number of Class 5 schools in the region.

MSHSAA places the 32 largest schools that play football into Class 6, and the 64 smallest schools are assigned to Class 1. Teams are assigned to Classes 2-4 based on the school's enrollment, with 64 teams in each class. Whatever teams are left go into Class 5, which had 51 schools in 2010.

Teams will be seeded by a point system over the first nine regular season games. In game 10 the number 1 seeded team in the district will host the number 8 team, the number 2 team will host the number 7 team and so on. Each district will have four teams left after game 10. That will be narrowed to two teams after the second district game and the third game will be the district championship.

One of the drawbacks to this format is that schools will only be guaranteed four home games during a season, which in Nevada's case make require some of the special pre-game activities like senior night, parents night, Super Booster, etc., to be held on the same night, instead of separate nights as is currently done.

McKinley said that the school will have to see what happens in the future with the success of the football team.

With a new coach starting next year, the team's record may improve and Nevada might improve enough to earn a higher seeding.

To help offset the loss of revenue from not having a fifth home game in a season, the MSHSAA decided that the gate receipts from game 10 -- the first district playoff

game -- is to be split 60-40, with the host team receiving 60 percent of the gate and the visiting team getting 40 percent to make week 10 financially equitable to all schools.

"If we're in a conference, it's no big deal" McKinley said.

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