When Missouri high school football teams take the field on August 25, there will be some significant changes across the six classifications.
On March 10, the Missouri State High School Activities Association made the changes when they followed the football advisory committee recommendation to reconfigure how the classes are configured.
Without pulling out the abacus the main changes are as follows:
Class 1 shrinks from 64 to 36ish, sort of, depending on multiple factors that could fluctuate the number from 32-42.
Class 6 expands from 32 to 42, the only set in stone size change.
As for Classes 2-5, the remainder of the schools will be spread between these classes. Currently depending on how many teams play, that will be around 56…ish.
So why the change?
There’s no formally announced reason, but the primary reason is to try and stop the influx of Class 1 schools moving from 11-man to 8-man.
Currently four schools have announced they are moving to 8-man this season, Princeton, Plattsburg, Scotland County and Slater.
To me, if you aren’t able to come up with the numbers to play 11-man football, switching to 8-man makes sense. Conversely, if it's a matter of winning and losing as the reason to move down and not numbers, the good folks of Archie, Drexel, North Andrew and Worth County will have a surprise waiting for some of these schools.
For some perspective, Plattsburg and Scotland County will be the two largest public schools in 8 man. The four schools making the move went a combined 4-35 last season.
Locally this impact can be good and bad. If your school was one of the 10 biggest in its Class 5, you are headed to Class 6, that includes defending state champion Francis Howell. By the same token schools sized 11-20 suddenly saw things maybe get a little easier.
What this means for everyone is that when the classifications and districts are announced in August, there’s going to be even more attention paid than normal.