Polk County's volleyball team finished tied for third in the state 1A playoffs in 2017.

NCHSAA Board of Directors adopts new playoff procedure, finalizes realignment

The North Carolina High School Athletic Association (NCHSAA) Board of Directors concluded a special called meeting Wednesday for the purpose of finalizing the 2021-2025 Realignment Plan and implementing the 2021-2022 Sports Calendar.

The board also altered playoff qualification and seeding procedures, implementing an RPI formula for seeding in all team sports beginning in 2021-2022.

The Board of Directors heard four procedural appeals from member schools before finalizing the Realignment Plan as submitted by the Realignment Committee. The final plan is posted on the Association’s website.

“We are thankful to have the difficult task of realigning the membership behind us thanks to the outstanding work of the Realignment Committee and the leadership of the Board of Directors,” said Commissioner Que Tucker.

“This year’s committee and board were willing to think outside of the traditional mold for realignment and have delivered a product that we all believe moves the Association forward on very critical issues relating to fair competition, equity and leveling the playing field across our state.”

The Board also implemented a new playoff qualification process and seeding procedure. The NCHSAA will now use an RPI formula to determine qualification and seeding. The RPI formula will be used for all team bracketed playoffs and will consist of 30 percent of a team’s winning percentage, 40 percent of that team’s opponent’s winning percentage and 30 percent of the winning percentage of the opponents of a team’s opponents. In all calculations of opponent winning percentages, games involving the team whose RPI is being calculated are ignored.

The east and west regions are pre-determined and will be seeded independently of one another utilizing the RPI rating of each school. Conference champions will still be seeded prior to any other qualifying teams, based on their RPI rating. All other teams will be seeded after the conference champions by RPI rating regardless of conference finish.

A full listing of the newly approved playoff qualification and seeding procedure has been posted on the NCHSAA calendar web page as well as an FAQ document to answer questions about the RPI formula.

Finally, the Board of Directors implemented new season limitations for the total number of allowable games for any team. In football, teams will be limited to 10 regular season contests per year. In men’s and women’s lacrosse, teams will be limited to 20 regular-season contests, which is an increase of four contests per year from the current season limitations in these sports. In wrestling, there were no changes to the current season limitation. In all other sports, teams will be limited to 22 contests per sport season. The board also suspended the Endowment Game concept indefinitely.

Except for football and wrestling, all sports will be permitted one in-season tournament with a three-game maximum, which would only count as one game or match. Any game beyond the third game of an in-season tournament would count as an individual game towards the season limitation.