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Palm Beach Post (Florida)
The Florida High School Athletic Association's Football Advisory Committee, made up of coaches from around the state, endorsed several changes to the rulebook as agenda items at their meeting in Gainesville on Wednesday.
The adopted items are: more points for losses based on the classification of the winning team, bonus points for playing teams in higher classifications, an expanded playoff bracket for small schools (Classes 1-4A) and expanded playoff rosters.
Currently, four teams in the state's four regions make the Class 1-4A playoffs. Under the proposed rule change, six teams would qualify.
The rule changes still need approval from the Athletic Directors Advisory Committee and the FHSAA board of directors. No Palm Beach County coaches are on the committee.
"I definitely like that more teams are getting into the playoffs in 1A-4A," Oxbridge Academy coach Brendan Kent said in a text message. "I'm not sure how the increased point totals will make much of a difference, but I guess we will wait and see."
Small schools stand to benefit the most from the proposed changes, with an easier shot to get into the playoffs — and top seeds, like Oxbridge in 2017, earning a bye — and bonus points for playing teams in higher classifications.
"I like more points for playing up a class," King's Academy coach Keith Allen said in a text message, adding that most of the Lions' opponents in the South Florida Conference are Class 4A.
Some big-school coaches may have issues with it, though. Class 8A teams cannot earn bonus points — there are no higher classifications.
"It's good for the lower teams to play bigger teams, but as far as getting points, I don't think they should be allowed to get points because we can't play a lower-level team and get a bonus point, ourselves," Abel said. "So if it's going to be points dished out for wins and losses, that's fine, but it has to be even across the board, I believe."
Abel did say he likes the expanded playoff rosters, though.
"There's other kids that I've always wanted to bring up every year to travel with us — from the JV squad or freshman squad," he said. "But I've never had the opportunity to because I was limited in roster space. Now I'll be able to bring them up, give them a look, give them an opportunity to experience varsity football and get them prepared and ready to go for next year."
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