High School Sports

October 29, 2012

New high school football playoff formula can be simple

THE PALMETTO State will begin its football playoffs this Friday, a good time to note that we are home to the most unique — or most ridiculous? — format in the country. But we could have the best.

THE PALMETTO State will begin its football playoffs this Friday.

We are home to the most unique — or most ridiculous? — format in the country: four classifications; four playoff systems.

I researched 51 playoff systems from around the country. South Carolina leads all states in the percentage of teams that make the state playoffs. Prior to the Class 2A proposal for this year — where we allow every team into the postseason — we were allowing 65 percent of our teams into the playoffs. Only Wyoming had more at 70 percent, but we’ve surpassed them now.

The arguments you will hear for our systems range from “We need the gate money” to “There is no perfect system.”

However, I’ve come up with a plan that would make ours the absolute best in the country.

My proposal has three parts:


Increase the number of regular season games from 10 to 12. This would enable schools to add an extra home game to their schedule — and the added gate revenue.


One division per classification. No more multiple champions for the classes. Take it to a five-classification system.


Only the region champion and region runner-up get into the playoffs.

I can already hear some arguments against this:

SCHSL revenue would plummet going from 148 playoff teams to 80

That also means rights fees that the League charges to media for broadcasting playoff games would vanish. However, we would still have three rounds with a championship in each classification. Let’s be honest: Are the schools here for the SCHSL’s benefit or is it supposed to be the other way around? If the SCHSL is hurt by that type of revenue loss, get corporate sponsorship. It’s being done all over the country (Watch ESPN on Friday night).

Keep in mind, adding two extra games in the regular season increases the number of games by approximately 144, which would generate revenue for the SCHSL.

By letting in only the region winner and runner-up, more than one region loss could kick you out of the playoffs

Exactly. Every region game’s level of importance is increased.

Our region’s third-place team is better than Region X’s second-place team

That is irrelevant. If you are third in the region then there would already be two teams in the playoffs better than you. If you want to play in the postseason, then finish first or second.

Check out my entire five-class proposal at scvarsity.com entitled “A Simple Plan”.

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