You might assume that 16 Class 6A football coaches were overjoyed on Wednesday with the announcement that the class would be split into two separate divisions, each with its own postseason and its own champion.
The 16 coaches in Division II, the smaller schools in the class, just saw their chances of winning a state championship increase considerably, without Jenks or Tulsa Union in the mix.
At Stillwater, one of those 16 Division II schools, coach Tucker Barnard had mixed emotions.
Sure, he's excited for the improved opportunity his team will have to win a gold ball. But he has also seen the strength and character his team has built in games against Union, Owasso and other big schools in the state.
“For my school, we like playing those teams,” Barnard said. “You win some and lose some, but over time, I think it helps us. We're a better football program in 2013 for having played them.”
For the big schools that make up Division I, Wednesday's announcement of the new Class 6A football plan changed very little, other than to increase their strength of schedule.
“About the only thing it does is crown another state champion,” Edmond North coach Jeremy Dombek said. “I would have loved to see it stay the same, but I am not totally upset about the way it turned out.
“For us, it doesn't change anything with who we have to beat to win a gold ball. Jenks and Union have set the bar and those are the guys we are chasing.”
Class 6A schools voted 25-5 in favor of a plan that splits the class into two divisions for football, with the results of the vote being approved by the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association's board of directors on Wednesday.
“We're pleased with it and how the process played out,” said Ed Sheakley, executive director of the OSSAA. “It's kind of ironic that it kind of came back full circle to what the committee first recommended to the board.”
The proposal passed with a 25-5 vote. Tulsa Union abstained from voting and another school did not return its ballot.
Timeline for the new Class 6A
Here's a look at how the new Class 6A plan will be put into action over the next 16 months:
Wednesday: The OSSAA board of directors approved the vote of the Class 6A schools to split the class into two 16-team divisions.
Late July: Around the last week of July, just before the Oklahoma Coaches Association clinic in Tulsa, the OSSAA will release the updated average daily attendance numbers for its member schools to be applied to the coming school year. In this case, the numbers released this summer will be used to set the football classes and districts for the 2014-15 seasons.
September: Coaches and administrators will meet to determine the districts for the 2014-15 football seasons. In the past, this occurred in July at the OCA clinic, but recently, the OSSAA shifted it to September to allow athletic directors and other administrators the chance to take part.
Sept. 25-26, 2014: Week 4 of the football season, the opening week of district play.
Thanksgiving 2014: The first Class 6A Division I and Division II state championship games will be played, one week earlier than previous years, since the playoffs will last only three weeks.