Jaclyn Shambaugh Staff writer @jaclynshambaugh

CHAPEL HILL — The NCHSAA board of directors made sweeping changes to the playoff formats in several sports at its spring meeting Wednesday.

In the new format, the 4-A and 1-A classifications will have 48-team playoff fields, while the 3-A and 2-A fields will remain at 64.

Though the new format cuts the total number of playoff qualifiers, board president Rodney Shotwell noted that the percentage of 1-A and 4-A teams in the playoff field is higher than it is in the 2-A and 3-A fields.

“In 1-A, there are 77 teams that are playing football, so there percentage is about 62 percent of teams eligible for playoffs as a result,” Shotwell said.

The reduction in size of the 1-A and 4-A fields means first-round byes for the higher seeds.

The changes will affect football, volleyball, basketball, soccer, baseball and softball. Wrestling, tennis and lacrosse seeding will revert to using predetermined brackets.

The football playoffs will continued to be subdivided, with the largest playoff qualifiers seeded into an AA bracket and the smaller teams plugged into an A bracket.

How those teams are selected prompted board member Patty Evers, East Bladen’s athletic director and girls’ basketball coach, to cast one of two votes against the proposed playoffs changes.

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