The WPIAL has a step-by-step system to break ties for spots in its football playoffs:
* Head-to-head competition among tied teams.
* If there is a tie among three or more teams and head-to-head doesn't break the deadlock, then Gardner Points are used.
In the Gardner Points System, the winning team gets 10 points for each of the defeated team's victories. (For example, Team A beat Team B. Team B has a 4-2 conference record, so Team A gets 40 points.)
* Add up the Gardner Points for tied teams to determine the playoff participant. If there is still a deadlock, the WPIAL tiebreaker system is then used.
Under the WPIAL tiebreaker system, a maximum of 10 points are earned in a victory and a maximum of 10 points are lost in a defeat. Points are based on comparative scores. (For example, a 9-0 victory is worth nine points. A 14-7 loss is minus-seven.)
* Add up the tiebreaker points to come up with the playoff participant.
* If there is still a tie with three or more teams after the Gardner Points and tiebreaker systems are applied, then a coin flip will decide the playoff participant.
* It is important to remember that the system reverts back to head-to-head competition when breaking ties among three or more teams.
For example, if teams A, B and C are tied for two playoff spots and have 1-1 records in head-to-head competition, then Gardner Points will be used to break the tie. If team A has more Gardner Points, it would get one of the playoff spots. The tie between B and C would then be broken by head-to-head competition.
If Gardner Points doesn't break a three-way tie for two playoff spots, then the WPIAL tiebreaker system is applied. Once a team gets a playoff spot through tiebreaker points, the remaining spot is decided by head-to-head competition.
There will be one "wild-card" sixth-place team in the Class AAA and AAAA playoffs. In Class AAAA, the sixth-place team with the best overall record will get the playoff spot. If the sixth-place teams in conferences are tied in overall records, then the Gardner Points and the tiebreaker system will be applied.
In Class AAA, overall records are not used to determined the wild-card team. The sixth-place team with the best conference record gets the wild-card spot. If there is a tie, the Gardner Points and WPIAL tiebreaker system will then be applied.