NORMAN — The Oklahoma Secondary Schools Activities Association on Thursday changed the face of Oklahoma high school football.
With two options on the table, members voted 25-5 in favor of playing for two state championships in the state’s largest class. The move impacts Norman and Moore high schools.
“It’s certainly going to be different than what we had,” Norman North head football coach Wade Standley said. “It will be a different way of doing things.”
The dramatic alterations don’t come without critics.
“After meeting with our administration we felt like Plan A, the one OSSAA selected, was the best of the two,” Norman High head football coach Greg Nation said. “However, I would have rather it stayed the same as it has been for years.”
Starting in 2014, class 6A will be split into two divisions consisting of 16 teams each. The larger schools will play in Division I and the smaller schools in Division II. The divisions will be split into two districts with the top four finishers from each district advancing to the postseason.
Each division will crown its own state champion in football, meaning class 6A will have two title games.
“I did not like either plan,” Westmoore head football coach Billy Langford said. “I did not talk to many coaches on this side of the state that liked either one. I think all that has been done is water down the state championship.”
If their average daily enrollment stays where it is, Norman, Norman North, Southmoore, Westmoore and Moore will all be placed in Division I with the larger schools. It includes Jenks and Union, which have won every football state championship since 1996. Their success may have been a catalyst for the changes.
“I know it had a huge impact,” Nation said. “People think it all boils down to the fact that they are such big schools enrollment wise, which is true. But they also do things the right way with their feeder programs, middle school athletic programs and getting the community support and everyone buying into their vision. You can’t take that away from them. Their vision for the future involves every aspect of facilities for academics and athletics, which puts them in front of the pack.”