This season, all 182 football teams in Maryland secondary schools are headed to the playoffs.
The Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association approved the proposal last week.
It said that it would ensure all schools can compete this season despite issues presented by COVID-19, such as canceled games or quarantined players.
A news release from the athletic association said playoffs will be similar to previous years.
However, this season, it’s increasing the number of classifications to six to allow all member schools to compete in a bracket-style regional competition. The tournament changes only apply to this season.
Before the pandemic, schools were in four classifications based on their student population. In football, teams entered for postseason play based on a point system that evaluated wins and strength of schedule. The top eight teams in each classification advanced to the state tournament, and four state champions were crowned at the end of the year.
Now, for one season, 12 teams will play in six state football championship games during the first week of December.
The decision had majority support from the state football committee as well. The structure matches other fall sports and was supported by coaches, athletic directors, school administrators and local superintendents.
You can read the proposal on the association’s website.