Everything changes at some time or another.
For the past 40-some years there has been one system the Florida High School Athletic Association has followed.
That system is that two teams from each district, across the eight or 16 districts, depending on which class, would make the post season.
This past September, an 11-2 vote changed all of that and has set two separate groups when it comes to the football playoff system.
In Classes 1A though 4A, which includes the Jay Royals, each class will be divided into four regions. Four at-large qualifiers will be seeded based on a points system to fill out the traditional 16-team post season bracket per class.
The Royals will be one of eight teams in their region that includes Baker, Bozeman, Chipley, Freeport, Graceville, Holmes County, Jefferson County, Northview, and Vernon.
For a chance of making the playoffs each team needs to collect as many wins as possible, but their opponents have to do well also.
Teams will have the opportunity to earn as many as 50 points for a win or 35 points for a loss or as few as 35 points for a win and 20 points as a loss based on a four category chart.
The point value of each win or loss is based on the final record of their opponents.
“With the new point system, every game on our schedule could have an impact on whether we make it to the playoffs or not,” Jay head coach Melvin Kersey said.
The FHSAA’s new system is modeled after a point system used by the Nebraska School Activities Association and is being used in all eight of the state’s football classifications.
In classes 5A to 8A, there will still be districts, but only the district champion will have the opportunity to earn the automatic berth.
Points earned will decide the seeding for spots five through eight in each region — similar to a wild card berth of sorts, which will eliminate the district runner-up enjoying a playoff berth since the rule was changed in 1993.
With four teams — Gulf Breeze, Milton, Navarre, and Pace — battling for the District 2-5A title second place might not be good enough to extend the season anymore.
The new point system will not only grant the four wild card spots, but it will also be used to seed the district champions in their respective regions.
FHSAA offices reported that when football administrator Frank Beasley surveyed over 500 member schools over 70 percent endorsed the change to the new format.
One of those coaches in the minority is Milton’s first-year coach Harry Lees.
“I believe there was nothing wrong with the old way the playoffs were set up,” Lees said. “You win the games you are supposed to and you are in.
“Someone with a lot of power and influence probably got left out and devised a scheme that takes way too long to figure out and even longer to explain to everybody how it works.”
Other changes to the system include the elimination of tie breakers and new rules on how teams handle cancellations, postponements and forfeits.
Coaches will no longer be able to replace a cancelled game, as the schedule submitted to the FHSAA one week prior to the season will count as the official schedule used to award points for seeding purposes and determining the point average used for final seeding’s.