A group of high school coaches and N.C. High School Athletic Association staff developed a method conducting the state's 256-team football playoffs on Tuesday.
The NCHSAA will be using a pod system in the fall for the first time. In the past few years, qualifying schools have been split into East and West divisions for the early rounds.This fall, the schools will be divided into West, Midwest, Mideast and East divisions.
"I think we did a good job," said Que Tucker, the deputy commissioner of the NCHSAA. "We had coaches from every region and from every classification. We tried to think of all the possibilities."
Teams will qualify just as they have in the past.
The first, second and third finishers in most conferences will advance along with enough other teams to fill the 64-team bracket. The other teams will be chosen based on overall records.
Once all of the teams have been chosen, the schools will be arranged within a class based on enrollment. The largest schools will go to the AA playoffs, 4-AA for example, and the others will be to the A playoffs, 4-A for example.
The 32-teams in the 4-AA playoff, and the other playoff groupings, will be divided into East and West brackets and will be seeded according to conference finish (no conference champion can be ranked below a No. 2 finisher) and overall records. An undefeated league champion will be ranked ahead of a league champ with a loss, for example.
After the teams are seeded, they will be placed in one of the four pods based entirely on geography, not seeding. It is possible that the top three or more seeds in a region could all be in the same pod.
Once in a pod, the teams will be seeded based again on their initial seeding in the region. The pod seeding will determine the pairings in the first three rounds.
The regional final will be played at the site of highest surviving seed from the regional seeding.
The 64 classifirs