HS FOOTBALL: Changes Announced from IHSAA Board of Control

By Jon Swisher-Sports Director:

At its monthly meeting on Wednesday, the Iowa High School Athletic Association’s Board
of Control approved changes to the high school football playoff qualifying system, scheduling and to allow out-of-state contests
starting in the 2018 season. KMCH Sports Director Jon Swisher has some of the details:

On tomorrow’s sportscasts Jon will have the news classifications, district assignments and the new district format for KMCH area coverage schools.




Recommendations from the Iowa Football Coaches Association and playoff football advisory
committee were to expand the postseason field to 32 teams in Classes 3A, 2A, 1A, A, and 8-Player, and 24
teams in Class 4A after a nine-game regular season. However, the Board of Control unanimously opted to
maintain the current schedule with nine regular season games and 16 postseason qualifiers per class,
which will allow the season to end before a holiday break, and avoid further overlap with winter sports seasons.
Teams will continue to have nine home games and nine away games over the two-year district cycle.
The IHSAA’s football playoffs featured 32 qualifiers per class from 2008 until 2015. It returned to its prior
format of 16 postseason squads in its six classifications in 2016.
The Board of Control followed other provisional recommendations made in last month’s advisory
committee meeting in voting to distribute football districts and alter the 16-team qualifying structure.

District Breakdown
Based on classification changes made in October, the Board discussed and voted to approve football
districts that will allow all classes to add non-district contests and reduce district travel.
Classification and district assignments will be finalized and released on Thursday, January 25.

The new format for 2018-19 is as follows…

Class 4A: 42 teams, 7 districts, 6 teams per district; 4 non-district games per team.
Class 3A, 2A, 1A: 54 teams, 9 districts, 6 teams per district; 4 non-district games per team.
Class A: 62 teams, 8 districts with 6 teams, and 2 districts with 7 teams; 4 non-district games per
team in 6-team districts and 3 non-district games per team in 7-team districts.
8-Player: 65 teams, 7 districts with 8 teams and 1 district with 9 teams; 2 non-district games per
team in 8-team districts and 1 non-district game per team in 9-team district (Week 0 possible).

Postseason Qualifying System
A provisional recommendation approved by the Board changes how the 16 teams in each class will qualify
for their playoffs starting in 2018.

The new format for 2018-19 is as follows…

1. Only the district champion or teams tying for a district championship receive automatic
2. For the first time since the debut of district football back in 1987, all nine games will count toward postseason
3. The 17-point district tiebreaker will be eliminated and not factor into qualification.
4. Remaining at-large qualifiers will be determined by a Ratings Percentage Index formula. The RPI
will use three criteria to determine postseason qualification.
a. Team’s overall win-loss percentage (accounting for 37.5% of the index)
b. Team’s opponent’s win-loss percentage (37.5%)
c. Team’s opponent’s opponent’s win-loss percentage (25%)
5. Classification differences between non-district opponents do not affect RPI.
The NCAA uses RPI in several men’s and women’s sports. The Colorado High School Activities Association
debuted a similar RPI system in 2016.
“Our goal is to have the best 16 teams in each class qualify for the playoffs,” Beste said. “We believe we get
closer to that goal by having only district champions as automatic qualifiers, and the remainder of
qualifiers determined by their success and the success of their opponents and other successful teams.”

Out-Of-State Competition
The Board of Control approved an additional recommendation allowing varsity football teams to play
games against nearby opponents in border states – Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota,
Wisconsin and Kansas.