The Associated Press
ALBUQUERQUE — The New Mexico Activities Association board of directors on Thursday approved the addition of 8-man football for next fall.
Fourteen schools are scheduled to play: Menaul, Mountainair, Springer-Des Moines, Animas, Magdalena, Pine Hill, Reserve, Gateway Christian, Valley Christian, Clovis Christian, Tatum, Floyd, Logan and Melrose.
The 6-man format, implemented in 1987, will continue next fall with nine schools: Evangel Christian, House, New Mexico School for the Deaf, Roy-Wagon Mound, San Jon, Corona, Hondo, Lake Arthur and Vaughn.
Enrollment parameters adopted by the board will place schools with 71 to 125 students in 8-man football, while schools of up to 70 students will play 6-man.
NMAA spokesman Robert Zayas said the assignments are tentative because some schools that are eligible for 6-man football might choose to move up to 8-man football, and some 8-man programs may decide to play in the traditional 11-man format.
That decision is left to individual school districts. Fort Sumner had 102 students last fall but won the 1A state championship in 11-man football.
Zayas said the addition of 8-man football was made to better equalize team rosters. For example, House had 20 students last season but competed in 6-man football against Pine Hill, which had 140 students.
“We just felt there was too much of a disparity,” Zayas said.