The 5A football advisory committee on Thursday proposed expanding 5A playoff participation in the sport to the conference’s executive board beginning with the 2005-06 season.
Mesa High School coach Bill McKane, who represented the football advisory committee, submitted a proposal backed by seven of the eight regions that returned feedback to expand playoff teams to 32 from the current 16.
"I thought the presentation went well," McKane said. "Now we’ll wait and see what the feedback is, and see what is decided next month. All of our regions’ coaches support expanding the playoffs. We’d like to get participation in the playoffs equal to those of other sports, and get an extra game or so, especially a playoff game, for kids."
The advisory committee’s proposal is to expand the playoffs from the current 16 to 32 teams since 5A is projected to number at least 60 schools by the time realignment is undertaken again in October 2004 for the 2005-06 and 2006-07 school years. The proposal does not call for lengthening the season, a problem with past proposals. It instead shortens the regular season by one week so the playoffs can begin and be completed in five weeks. That means the overall season is the same length as it is now. Teams that don’t make the playoffs would still be able to play a 10th game, for example, team 33 playing team 34, 35 vs. 36, etc.
5A executive board president Pete Lesar said there was little time to generate discussion Thursday since the board had to consider five or six other matters.
"We had some questions, but here football coaches are trying to increase opportunities for kids in programs and they are trying to do it in a creative way," Lesar said. "That’s a positive. There were some questions about what the competitive nature of some of the matchups might be with that many teams. Would a No. 1 vs. a No. 32 be a good experience for kids?"
The next step is for the region reps to take the information back and share it with their schools."
More discussion and presumably a vote of the 19-member board will take place on Dec. 4.
Another question Lesar had concerned gate receipts for the 10th game and who would get them. "They proposed spliting the gate for the 10th game between the schools playing each other, but I’m not sure if a game is considered a playoff game where that gate would go. Would it go to the schools or AIA? That’s something we’d have to discuss."