NCHSAA 2016-2017 playoff and conference changes announced

By Kristian Russell -

CHAPEL HILL — When dealing with the NCHSAA, one never knows what they will get. On Wednesday morning, the NCHSAA held its annual meeting and made some major changes to the conference realignments as well as the seeding for state playoffs and the rules for off-season skill development.

The board voted to adopt a one-year pilot plan which will be used for playoff seeding for the 2016-2017 school year. Here are the highlights of the new seeding system, and other major changes:

• The big change in the seeding process is that only conference champions will get preferred seeding in the playoffs. Teams that finish second and third will be grouped with second and third place teams from different conferences. They will be seeded by overall record, not in order of their conference finish.

• The other change that passed, is that seeding for the playoffs will be done by four geographic regions, not two. Mideast and Midwest will be added along with East and West.

• The NCHSAA also has changed the rules on the limit of athletes a high school coach can coach during the off-season, for all sports but football. Any coach can now work with an unlimited number of players in the offseason for 90 minutes a day. The number limit for athletes is still in place for coaches who also coach teams that are not school-affiliated.

• Another change is that dead period for fall, spring, and winter have been extended. Fall now ends Sept. 15, winter ends Dec. 15, and spring ends Arpil 1.

Other changes include:

• Reduced the number of athletes a school can use for football’s 8-quarter rule. For 1-A/2-A schools the number is 10. For 4-A schools the number is five.

• Tennis coaches will be required to use MaxPreps next year to qualify for the dual team playoffs.

• There will now be three umpires for in the Regional State Baseball Finals.

• Ticket prices for this year’s state track meets will increase from $8 to $10.

• Tickets to this year’s state baseball and softball finals will be $8 the first day, $12 the second day, and $8 for the third game (if needed).

In terms of the new conferences; the MVAC conference is staying the same while the WPAC will be adding Atkins and Walkertown.

MVAC: Ashe County, North Wilkes, West Wilkes, Wilkes Central, Alleghany, East Wilkes, Elkin, and Starmount.

WPAC: Atkins, Carver, Forbush, North Surry, Surry Central, Walkertown, and West Stokes.

Kristian Russell can be reached at 336-258-4052 or on Twitter @YadkinElkSports.

By Kristian Russell

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