OKLAHOMA CITY — Because of the number of late season postponements caused by COVID-19, the Oklahoma Secondary School Activity Association has tacked on an extra week to the 2020 football season.
A play-in round has been added in each of Oklahoma’s nine classes and the tournament now will be like basketball where everyone is in the pool.
“With the cancellation of numerous games in district play, it caused us some concerns. First about how games could be made up — at the beginning, we did not think we would have as many games cancelled as we have had,” OSSAA associate director Mike Whaley said during a media Zoom briefing Tuesday morning.
There have been a few weeks where as many 25 games have had to be postponed statewide.
There will be a full bracket for all teams in each district on the association website and each school will have the option to decide if it wants to take advantage of the extra round of games.
Teams will have a deadline of the Saturday of Week 10, Whaley said.
“The district chairman will accumulate the information as to who has decided to opt out and we will adjust our brackets going forward,” he said.
Championship dates will be pushed back a week in Classes 5A, 4A, 3A, 2A, A, B and C.
Classes 6AI and 6AII will “burn” their normally scheduled bye week between the semifinal and title games.
Their championship games will be the weekend of Dec. 4-5.
5A, 4A, 3A and C will settle things the weekend of Dec. 11-12 and 2A, A and B on Dec. 18-19.
In four-district classes, the play-in round will pit 1 vs. 2 and 3 vs. 4.
In those with eight districts it will 1-2, 3-4, 5-6 and 7-8.
The first-place team in one district will face the eighth-place team in its neighboring district, with the top four teams in each district playing at home.
As usual, district champs will host the first two rounds and then move to criteria that normally is used for the subsequent rounds, Whaley said.
Semifinal rounds will continue to be played at neutral sites with all but the two eight-man classes title games at the University of Central Oklahoma.
Because Class B has eight six-team districts, the champion and runner-up will have a bye in the play-in round.
Should a school opt-out, the opponent would get a bye to the next round.
Whaley said that should a COVID situation prevent a school to play on their scheduled day, that team would be eliminated, Whaley said.
“Our biggest concern was schools with multiple games that had to be made up and didn't have enough time to do that,” he said.
Whaley noted that should a school have multiple games postponed by COVID and decide to not take the opportunity to get into the playoffs and it find another schools that is willing to play, they can schedule that opponent — as long as its played prior to the championship round.
There are only 11 districts of the 44 statewide that are not “flagged” — having had teams affected by COVID-19.
As a result, Whaley said each district will accumulate rankings for the last three weeks of the season.
Flagged districts can use wins only or rankings to determine the pecking order for the play-in round.
“The reason we are asking all of them to rank is should any of those districts then become flagged later on, the rankings already would be there.”