Teams playing down will still be playoff eligible

January 30, 2014 Updated: January 30, 2014 at 8:45 pm

AURORA - Dave Howard smiled wide. Not for himself, but for other athletic directors who might share his joy someday.

Two months ago, the Coronado athletic director watched his football team win the 3A state title, doing so while playing down a class while the program reorganized after years of misery.

Not long after, a proposal came forth to prevent teams playing down from qualifying for the postseason. On Thursday at the Colorado High School Activities Association Legislative Council meeting, the measure was defeated 39-33.

"I thought it was going to go through, so I'm really pleased that it didn't," Howard said. "Being able to play down saves programs. Now, we're where we should be, and I would want that for other schools that have been where we were."

The proposal was one of many on the agenda for the first of two legislative council meetings at the Red Lion Hotel. It drew passionate opposition as administrators sought to keep the status quo and not make a knee-jerk reaction after Coronado's unprecedented success.

"We're playing down for the next cycle, so the vote would impact us," said Grand Junction Central athletic director Randy Powell, whose football team has gone winless the past two years and put together just five victories in the past four seasons. "If you can't make the playoffs, what motivation is that for the kids?"

In another hot-button issue of reducing the maximum amount of regular-season games from 23 to 19 in basketball and volleyball, a vote never materialized. Just moments before Thursday's meeting commenced, the Northern League withdrew the proposal.

But don't count on the proposal going away.

"I don't see them letting it go, so I figure they'll try and bring it back in a different manner in April," Cheyenne Mountain athletic director Kris Roberts said. "If it's defeated in its current form, it can't come back in April. I believe the play was to pull it off the table, then reframe it for later."

Also, a proposal passed that might pave the way for the addition of Class 6A at some point. Now, the CHSAA has the discretion to add a classification "based on the growth of the CHSAA membership." 

The CHSAA flirted with 6A in a limited number of sports from 1991-94.

Speaking of growth, the format for the newly added 2A girls' soccer was approved. Starting in the spring of 2015, the 2A field - which will include Colorado Springs School and Evangelical Christian Academy locally - will conclude with a 12-team postseason bracket. That addition will reduce the 3A field from 32 to 24 teams. The change does not affect boys' soccer, which retains 3A, 4A and 5A.

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