MHSAA Announces Changes to Football, Basketball and Soccer Postseason Tournaments
The Michigan High School Athletic Association announced major changes to its soccer, basketball and football postseason tournaments on Wednesday.
Beginning with the 2019-20 school year, boys and girls basketball and soccer will utilize a seeding process that will place the top two teams in every district on opposite ends of the bracket. The move guarantees that those top two teams will not play each other prior to the district championship game.
Seeding for the district tournament will be determined by using the Michigan Power Ratings computer formula that is based on regular-season results against MHSAA tournament-eligible teams and opponents’ strength of schedule. The MHSAA will draw district brackets two weeks prior to the start of tournament. After the seeds are determined, the draw process will place the remaining teams on the bracket based on a randomly-selected order determined earlier in the season. The draw process does not guarantee that seeded teams will receive byes or serve as home teams.
In addition to changes to the basketball and soccer postseason tournaments, beginning with the 2020 season, the MHSAA’s Representative Council approved a measure for the 11-player football playoffs that will eliminate the automatic qualification based on win total. Instead, eight divisions will be determined prior to the start of the season, and 32 playoff qualifiers for each division will be selected at the end of the regular season based on playoff-point average.
The new playoff points formula will award bonus points for all opponents’ wins, regardless of whether the team beat or lost to those opponents. Currently bonus points are awarded only if the team defeated an opponent. More points also are awarded for defeating teams from larger divisions. The Football Committee proposed these changes believing the bonus points received for a “good loss” – combined with the elimination of automatic qualifiers – will be enough incentive for teams to schedule more successful opponents, easing the annual difficulty in football scheduling and taking away arguably the most cited reason for the breakup of leagues and conferences.
The MHSAA also approved a recommendation by the playoff committee for an enrollment limit of 215 students for the 8-player playoffs, beginning with the 2020 season. Currently, only Class D schools are eligible for the postseason, or are in a one-year grace period if the school grew larger than Class D for the current school year.
In addition to the football postseason tournament changes, the MHSAA also approved limited video review of scoring plays or potential scoring plays, or of turnovers or potential turnovers at the 8-player and 11-player finals. This will only be available at state finals because of the availability of camera coverage. Although all scoring and turnover plays could be reviewed, a play will be reversed only when there is indisputable video evidence showing the original call was incorrect.