WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP – The number of public high school football teams that make the state playoffs will increase from 128 to 160 this fall, under a proposal approved by the executive committee of the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association on Wednesday.

The committee voted 21-5 with three abstentions to add a fifth enrollment group in each of the state’s four sections. Each section will now consist of Groups I, II, III, IV and V for football. Each group will have 15 teams. The top eight teams in each group with the most power points will make the playoffs. Under the previous system, there were 19 teams in four enrollment groups in each section.

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NJSIAA assistant director Jack Dubois said the change will allow more student athletes to participate in the playoffs. The change will also get rid of 16 consolation games that few teams, if any, enjoyed playing. Teams with less than a .500 record can also qualify for the playoffs if they have enough power points, under the new system.

“You have eight out of 15 chance of making the playoffs now as opposed to eight out of 19,” Dubois said.

But the change also could be a financial benefit to the NJSIAA which is struggling with financial problems caused by a 2010 law that limits the amounts of money it can charge the tickets.

There will be 28 more playoff games, under the new system. Football playoff games usually draw big crowds.

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