Football district assignments for the next classification cycle were released Friday by the Missouri State High School Activities Association, aligning schools for round-robin district play for the 2008 and 2009 football seasons.
Only schools with enrollments of 200 or less may choose to play in the 8-man division. In 11-man football, the largest 32 schools based on student enrollment in grades 9-12 are classified in Class 6, while the smallest 64 schools are assigned to Class 1. The next-largest 64 schools are then classified in Class 2, the next 64 in Class 3, and the next 64 in Class 4. The remaining schools are assigned to Class 5.
Schools are grouped into districts within each classification based on geographical location and conference affiliation. The ability for all schools in a particular conference to complete a conference schedule takes priority in making football assignments. However, in instances where all schools in a conference cannot complete a full league schedule (every school plays every other school once), geography takes priority. The latter scenario occurs occasionally in conferences with more than eight members who also compete across multiple classifications.
The upcoming cycle will also mark the debut of Missouri’s new football playoff qualifying system whereby the top two teams from each district will advance to the MSHSAA Football Championship playoffs. Previously, just the top team from each district advanced to the state playoffs. Under the new format, the MSHSAA playoffs will include an eight-team bracket in the 8-man classification, 32-teams in Class 1, Class 2, Class 3, and Class 4, 22 schools in Class 5, and 16 playoff qualifiers in Class 6.