As high school football programs kick off their 2009 seasons this week, some schools are also looking to 2010 when the MHSAA may add an eight-player division to its Football Playoffs for those Class D schools which are struggling to start or maintain 11-player programs.
Michigan has a history of reduced-player football through the 1950s; and a few schools will play some or all of their schedules in the eight-player format in 2009. Six-, eight- and nine-player football are gaining popularity in a dozen other states.
Class D schools (enrollment under 224) are to give the MHSAA a preliminary indication of their interest in the eight-player format for 2010 by Nov. 15, 2009, and a more definite commitment by April 1, 2010. If at least 20 Class D schools are on board, the 2010 playoffs will include an eight-player division.
Only a few MHSAA schools will be playing varsity level eight-player games this year; and the schedules for such games are posted here on the MHSAA Football page. One school – Carsonville-Port Sanilac – has a complete nine-game schedule. Akron-Fairgrove High School has seven eight-player games.
Posen High School struggled to maintain an 11-player program, and is now struggling to put together a schedule of eight-player games. After many years without any program, Michigan School for the Deaf has reinstated football, eight-player variety.
For more details on eight-player playoff planning so far, click here.