Changes are coming to the Washington state high school football playoffs.
The Washington Interscholastic Activities Association announced in June that committees will determine the seeding for the state playoffs.
Previously, the pairings and locations were predetermined, based upon district seeds and proximity.
Those match-ups often pitted two highly ranked teams in the early rounds, which did not give the two best teams the opportunity to meet in the state championship game.
The old system also didn’t reward the strongest teams with home games in the early rounds.
The WIAA will now use three committees (4A/3A, 2A/1A and 2B/1B) to seed the teams.
Oak Harbor head coach Jay Turner was selected to be on the 4A/3A committee. Former Snohomish head coach Mark Perry, now the school’s athletic director, is also on the committee and will join Turner in representing the Western Conference.
Turner said he had to apply to be on the committee and “was lucky enough to be one of the applicants picked.”
The new seeding committee is an “extremely positive step,” he said. “I have felt that the state playoffs needed some sort of seeding process, and I feel fortunate to be a part of this process.”
Coupeville coach Marcus Carr said, “I think that it could be a good thing. I like the idea of coaches in your classifications being on the committee because they probably will have more insight on your team.”
He said it will force teams to play stronger schools outside of their conference to improve their profile.
The North Sound Conference, Coupeville’s league, will be represented by Sultan head coach Jim Wright.
Carr said he will have to wait and see to determine if the new system has any drawbacks.
The biggest criticism of the seeding committees, according to the WIAA, is the possibility of human bias.
The 16 teams that the committees will seed will still be determined by the district playoffs and through the WIAA allocation system. The committees will have no say in which teams qualify for the state tournament.