Class AAA Boys Class AAA Girls Class AAAA Boys & Girls
Why did we have pre-playoffs and weren’t they really part of the New Mexico State Tournament?
In 1975, there were four districts (27 schools) in Class AAA, and four districts (25 schools) in Class AAAA. Class AA had 71 schools and divided into two classes for 1976. Each of the small classes (A & AA) had eight districts. The initial ground work made it easy to determine the eight teams to send to the State Tournament in each class.
Participation in the state tournament is important financially. All state tournament profits are shared by the participating schools. Since 1921, there never has been a loss at the boys state tournament.
For 1976, Class AAA wanted to split into 5 districts rather than four. If they sent 10 representatives to the State Tournament, that would be a disproportionate number (10 of 27 or 37%) of schools in state. Class A was sending only 8 of 39 or 21% of its teams. Class AAA was already sending larger number; 30% of its teams to state! The NMAA agreed that if Class AAA would work out a system whereby only eight teams would come to state, then the 5 district plan would be acceptable. The AAA schools came up with the initial plan whereby two districts (Champions vs. Runners-up) would play prior to the state tournament to determine the representatives. They called them PRE-PLAYOFFS! Districts 1 & 4 were selected as the first districts to have pre-playoffs and they would alternate districts every year. The financial records were to be kept separate and profits were split between the teams playing. Losses would have to be paid by the teams,
From 1976 through 1982, Class AAA held two pre-playoffs games at the home of one of a district champion. The runner-up traveled. The pre-playoffs were held the Friday or Saturday before the State Tournament. Information from 1981 regarding Pre-playoffs is not available. All district champions were in the boy’s tournament and the two runners-up that were left out were Aztec and Artesia. In the next rotation, Districts 1 & 4 should have been pitted against one another. They were in 1982, so it seems that they just skipped a year! In 1983, the pre-playoff games were moved to the site of the State Tournament and played on Wednesday, before the State Tournament actually started, in 1986; the format was changed so that four runners-up were playing in the pre-playoffs. The 5 district champions received automatic berths along with one (rotating) runner-up.
In 1995, Class AAAA divided into 5 districts and accepted the same method of determining State Tournament berths as Class AAA. Class AAA went to six districts the same year. This required four pre-playoffs in Class AAA and two in Class AAAA. From 1995 to 2000, each State Tournament included 6 games which were actually pre-playoffs!
Pre-playoffs died a natural death in 2001, when New Mexico went to five classes!