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MHSAA tweaks football playoff format

EAST LANSING — Not everybody gets in after all.

The Michigan High School Athletic Association adjusted the football playoff format Friday afternoon for both 11-player and eight-player football with changes that mean 14 eight-player teams miss out on the postseason.

Those 14 teams will be allowed to play another additional non-playoff game after the regular season.

All 507 teams fielding 11-player teams automatically make the postseason, but the changes announced Friday also give five teams a chance to earn a bye because the six-round format allows for 512 teams.

The changes only apply to the 2020 season.

The abbreviated six-week regular season culminates with the 11-player state finals played the weekend of Dec. 4-6. Semifinal and final sites have not yet been named.

The eight-player finals are slated for Nov. 27-28, likewise with finals sites undetermined for the two divisions.

The top 32 teams in each of the two divisions qualify for postseason. Another six eight-player teams (Vermontville Maple Valley, St. Joseph Lake Michigan Catholic, Bridgman, Merrill, Marcellus and Adrian Lenawee Christian) have too large of an enrollment to qualify for the playoffs and will also be allowed to instead play one additional game against one of the other non-qualifiers if they choose so after the regular season.

MHSAA Announces Format Changes for 2020 Football Playoffs

Because of a small number of teams opting to not play this fall, division lines were adjusted from what was released during the spring classification announcement, moving 20 teams to different divisions than previously published.

U.P. 11-player teams 2020 playoff classifications

Div. 1 and 2: none

Div. 3: Marquette

Div. 4: Escanaba and Sault Ste. Marie

Div. 5: Kingsford and Hancock

Div. 6: Gogebic, Calumet, Gladstone, Houghton, Westwood, Menominee, Negaunee

Div. 7: L’Anse, Manistique

Div. 8: Bark River-Harris, Gwinn, Iron Mountain, Norway, West Iron, St. Ignace

Those changes will be reflected next week on the playoff points page of the MHSAA Website, and District groupings are viewable at https://www.mhsaa.com/portals/0/documents/FB/2020/2020%20Districts%2009-25-2020.pdf.

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