FHSAA executive director doesn’t back plan of football structure shakeup

St. Augustine QB Trevon Dirden (2) evades Menendez linebacker Jayden Williams and picks up yards in the second quarter. SAHS won the game 44-0. (Ralph D. Priddy, News4Jax)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Major changes to the Florida High School Athletic Association football structure set to be voted on later this month don’t have the backing of executive director George Tomyn.

On the FHSAA’s recently released itinerary for the upcoming board of directors meeting on Feb. 27-28, the item was not recommended for endorsement by Tomyn.

“The Executive Director does not endorse the proposal as written and does endorse the continued work of the Athletic Directors Advisory Committee to review classification,” it said in the agenda.

At the minimum, it presents another wrinkle in the process that advisory committees have backed that would radically reshape how the football landscape in Florida would look. Tomyn’s stance on the topic isn’t binding until the full board discusses and votes on it.

And the plan is a lot to take in.

The plan of action would take the eight largest counties in the state, which includes Duval County, and putting them in a four-classification metro division. The remaining 59 counties in Florida would be divided into suburban and rural and split among five classes.

That would mean nine state champions and a more equitable playing field, say coaches behind the plan. The football advisory committee has voted unanimously in both 2021 and ‘22 to proceed with the suburban/metro overhaul. The athletic director’s advisory committee voted against the plan in 2021 but voted for the plan this year. Both of those votes were 8-7 against and for.

The committee votes are non-binding until measures on voted on by the full FHSAA board of directors.

Tomyn did agree with the decision to replace the football Ratings Percentage Index metric with the FHSAA power rankings, a system used by the other major team sports to determine playoff qualifiers.

About the Author:

Justin Barney joined News4Jax in February 2019, but he’s been covering sports on the First Coast for more than 20 years.