The Maryland Public Secondary School Athletic Association (MPSSAA) decided last week to revise the point system by which teams qualify for the state playoffs.

The MPSSAA adopted the Pennsylvania scholastic system, altering the classification points awarded for victories. Presently, defeating a Class AA school is worth 12 points, Class A 10, Class B eight and Class C six. Under the new plan, which begins next fall, Class AA will be worth eight, A seven, B six and C five.

The new system lessens the effect should a school defeat an opponent in a higher classification. Many area suburban schools play larger schools in county competition.

Was this a move by smaller counties to reduce the proportion of Montgomery and Prince George's county teams that make the state playoffs each season?

"I hope that wasn't their intent and I'm going to give them the benefit of the doubt that they weren't trying to gain unfair advantage," said Pat Barry, cosupervisor of Montgomery County physical education and sports. "I had suggested an alternative, to study this new plan for a year and track its full implications, but that idea was defeated.

"I imagine that much of the concern about how this will impact larger counties might be an overreaction. On the plus side, this should help all schools become more flexible with their scheduling. Class AA schools will be less reluctant to schedule down."

Bill Kyle represented Montgomery County at the MPSAA meetings and abstained from voting on the point-classification issue, which was passed, 7-0, by the district representatives. Kyle felt the MPSAA should have studied the proposal for a year.