Changes to football playoffs could be coming

How football teams qualify for the CIF-Southern Section playoffs could change for the 2016 season.

The beginning of the change could come Thursday when the CIF-SS Executive Committee examines a potential proposal that would make football playoffs, starting in ‘16, like the basketball playoffs – teams would be placed in playoff divisions based on their past playoff performance instead of the current league-affiliation method.

This season, as in past seasons, all of a league’s playoff teams go into the same playoff division.

In basketball, a league’s playoff teams often are in different playoff divisions because those teams have had different levels of success in previous seasons’ playoffs. The Executive Committee on Thursday will evaluate a similar plan for football.

Basketball teams are first placed in divisions by school enrollment. They can be moved to higher or lower divisions based upon a playoff-points profile. The better a team has performed in recent playoffs, the higher its playoff points total and thus the higher its playoff division will be.

The Executive Committee could say the football plan is good enough to be a first-read proposal at the CIF-SS Council’s Oct. 6 meeting, the Council’s first session of the 2015-16 school year. From there, the proposal would be voted upon by the Council at its Jan. 27 meeting. If approved by the Council, the new football playoffs division system would be in place for the 2016 football season.

“The Executive Committee could say, ‘It looks good, let’s move on,' ” CIF-SS director of communications Thom Simmons said.

Or, Simmons said, the Executive Committee could send it back to the CIF-SS staff to re-work the concept’s elements. Or, he said, it could decide that the current league-affiliation method remains the best method.

The Executive Committee comprises 23 representatives from across the Southern Section that includes almost 600 schools and covers more 171,200 square miles. It is the administrative body of the Southern Section.

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