FHSAA Play-Offs Explained

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FLN has always felt the FHSAA play-off system is fair and easy to understand.  However, it can be a tad confusing, so we are going to try to simplify it a little.

First, there are district play-offs next week.  Dates vary slightly from district to district and you should have that information from your school.  The dates published on the FHSAA website are subject to final scheduling as field availability and other factors come into play.

The “Play-In” schedule of the district champions on the road to IMG at Brandenton is covered on pages 165-167 of the FHSAA Handbook, and it  is the key to the home field assignments.

First, the dates and times (subject to field availability, etc.):

First Round Play-In Game – 7 p.m. on Tuesday,  April 22  (Round of 32)

Second Round Play-In Game – 7 p.m. on Friday, April 25  (Round of 16)

Third Round Play-In Game – 7 p.m. on Tuesday, April 29  (Round of  8)

State Semi-Finals – Friday, May 2, either 5 or 7 p.m. at IMG

State Final – Saturday, May 3, 7:35 p.m. at IMG

Now, who is the home team after districts?  Well,  it is the higher team on the bracket in round one unless there are unusual circumstances.  After that, it changes based on how the games go.  In general, the system is designed so a team should not be on the road (or home) for every game, per the following from page 165 of the handbook:

4.9.2.2.2  FHSAA Finals State Tournament

(b)  The (district) champion on the top line of the bracket shall serve as host to the (district) champion on the bottom line of the bracket in the first-round play-in game in each region.

(c)  The champion on the top line of the bracket shall serve as host to the champion on the bottom line of the bracket in the second-round play-in game in each region.  If, however, the school  on the top line of the bracket served as a host school in the first-round play-in game and the school on the bottom line of the bracket was a visitor in the first-round play-in game, the school on the bottom line of the bracket will be designated the host school for the second-round play-in game.

(d)  The champion on the top line of the bracket shall serve as host to the champion on the bottom line of the bracket in the third-round play-in game in each region.  If, however, the school on the top line of the bracket served as a host school in the second-round play-in game and the school on the bottom line of the bracket was the visitor in the second-round play-in game, the school on the bottom line of the bracket will be designated the host school for the third-round play-in game.

It makes sense.  Next year, the bottom team of the bracket starts as the home team, and the following year it goes back to this year’s format and so on.  We commend the FHSAA for this straightforward system.

Good luck to all the teams!