A week ago, the ballots went out, and two weeks from now, they'll be returned, deciding the future of one of the most polarizing topics in Oklahoma high school sports — Class 6A football.
Class 6A will no longer be a 32-team class. Its future will include two 16-team divisions, each of which will have its own playoffs and own champion.
Earlier this month, the board of directors for the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association approved the ballots the Class 6A member schools now have in their possession to determine which of two plans they'll choose for the future of the class.
There's a tendency to point to Jenks and Tulsa Union as the reason for the impending changes in 6A football, considering those two programs have won every title since 1996.
But neither of the plans the 6A administrators are choosing between will change the Jenks-Union dominance. The new 6A might add a couple tougher games to their regular-season schedules. And it might make them travel more.
But there's no significant evidence to suggest the new 6A will lessen the challenge for the other 14 teams that will be in a division with Jenks and Union.
This issue isn't about Jenks and Union.
It's about the smaller 16 schools in Class 6A, and giving them a chance to compete beyond Week 10.
Football is a numbers game, more so than any other sport. When you have three times as many students in your hallways, it's easier to find 22 good ones to compete — or beat — a smaller school's best 11, most of whom are probably playing both ways for the majority of the game.
Only once in the last eight years have fewer than 10 of the largest 16 schools made the 6A playoffs.
And those numbers are skewed to favor smaller schools. In most years, the eastside districts in 6A often have only two or three schools from the largest 16, meaning one or two of the smallest 16 are guaranteed to make the playoffs.
Last fall, three of the 16 smallest schools reached the postseason, and two of them came from a district in which Owasso and Tulsa Union were the only teams from the larger half. So only one of those three playoff teams actually beat out a school from the largest 16.
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