SSAC introduces rule changes to football and basketball for 2024-25

May 18—FAIRMONT — The West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission announced changes to the playoff formats for football and basketball. The SSAC released two press releases Thursday detailing the changes.

According to both releases, the Board of Directors accepted the changes based on unanimous recommendations of the coaches advisory committee for each respective sport.

In football, teams now receive a bonus point for wins without considering the class of the team defeated. According to the release, bonus points were previously given if the team beaten was in the same class or one above.

The SSAC detailed how the strength of schedule component of the football rating system will adapt to the addition of Class AAAA. Teams now receive 15 points for beating AAAA schools, 12 for AAA, nine for AA, and six for A.

The SSAC also approved changes to the game-shortening rule. The rule can now go in affect as early as the third quarter if a team leads by 42 or more points. Previously, the rule only applied in the fourth quarter if the team led by 35 or more points.

For basketball, the changes made seem far more drastic than in football. The SSAC has moved to get rid of the section tournament and instead seed teams by region for an extended region tournament. This is for all classes in both boys and girls basketball.

The seeding for the region tournament will be voted on by the coaches in each region. The team with the highest seed will be the host school.

In the event of a voting tie, there are four tie-breakers to determine the seeding: (1) head-to-head competition, (2) total number of wins in classification and above, (3) total number of wins, and (4) coin toss.

Finally, there are two final games in each region, and the winners of those games advance to the state tournament.

According to Fairmont Senior boys basketball head coach David Retton, the changes to the tournament format won't change much other than make the basketball purist happier.

"Usually, the better teams will end up in Charleston regardless of the format," Retton said via text. "Upsets will occur regardless of the tournament format as well. Basketball purists will like the change because you can't lose and still make it to Charleston. Our objective is the same: earn the number one seed."

All rule changes will be in effect for the 2024-25 school year.

Reach Colin C. Rhodes at 304-367-2548