FARMINGTON — The New Mexico Activities Association's Board of Directors passed 17 proposals on Thursday for the 2014-2015 season.
Among the major changes were adjustments to state playoff seeding, wrestling district championships and soccer overtime rules.
The board approved a proposal that will allow district opponents to matchup in the first round of the playoffs in all sports in an effort to seed teams more accurately.
"That's been talked about for several years since they went to true seeding," Farmington High athletic director Don Lorett said. "I think there are some good things that will come out of it, and it will get teams seeded closer to where they're supposed to be."
The NMAA staff will use six criteria to seed teams going forward: the teams' finish in the district regular season, head-to-head records, wins against district champs regardless of class, overall record, MaxPreps rankings and member school input.
If there is a tie between teams based on the six criteria, it will be broken by the MaxPreps rankings.
The wrestling district team champions and runners-up will be determined by a series of district dual meets, rather than at a single district championship meet as was done during past seasons.
There will be an individual district championship meet to determine state qualifiers, but team scores will not be kept.
The number of individual state qualifiers was also adjusted for each class. There will be 14 automatic qualifiers in the new 5A and 10 in the new 2A/4A, with two wild cards for each weight class.
The wild cards will be selected based on the wrestlers' overall winning percentages.
Both District 1-5A and 1-4A will have three automatic qualifiers for each weight class.
In soccer, ties will be implemented during the regular season, including in district play.
If games are tied at the end of regulation play, then two 10-minute sudden death overtime periods will follow. If the game is still tied, it will end with a draw, rather than proceeding to penalty kicks as had been done in previous seasons.
"We'll see how it plays out," said Kirtland Central head girls soccer coach Leonel Camacho, whose team lost three games in penalty kicks last season. "It would definitely put more pressure on teams needing a win."
Aztec and Farmington ended the girls soccer season tied at the top of the district standings last year.
Farmington won on goal differential, but its victory over Aztec came via penalty kicks.
Lady Tigers head coach Stephen Parks said if any district is affected by the new tie system it will likely be Aztec's because of how tight and competitive many of the games have been.
"It's just going to emphasize the importance of finishing games," Parks said.
The NMAA will go to a system common to professional soccer leagues worldwide to determine the district champions.
Teams will be awarded three points for a district win, one point for a tie and zero for a loss. The team with the most points will win the district title. Head-to-head records and goal differentials will still be used to break any ties in the district standings.
Other NMAA changes include high school swimmers no longer being allowed to compete in club meets during the high school season and golfers being able to use distance measuring devices on the course.
"I like that high school swimmers and divers are limited to high school meets only," Lorett said. "There are big (club) meets across the state, because some schools don't have swimming, but some high school swimmers would double up and go to those as well."