The Iowa High School Athletic Association on Wednesday decided to shift to a one-year scheduling cycle for prep football with new districts, and the association will use a new grouping system in Class 4-A, according to a press release from the IHSAA.
A proposal for an eight-game regular season and 32 playoff qualifiers in Classes 3-A, 2-A, 1-A, A and Eight-Man was denied. The model used from 2008 to 2015 that featured nine regular season games and 32 postseason qualifiers was also denied over concerns of reduced player recovery time and scheduling.
The 2020 season will feature nine regular season games and 16 playoff qualifiers in all classes. Playoff procedures in all classes but 4-A will stay the same: district champions will earn automatic bids and the Ratings Percentage Index will determine at-large qualifiers.
The IHSAA will reassess football formats following the 2020 season.
Forty teams will comprise Class 4-A, made up of seven groups “organized for geography and with the intention of providing greater competitive balance to scheduling,” according to the release. The groups were formed by considering the last four years of football results through the IHSAA’s RPI and the last four years of success in the playoffs.
Unlike in 2019, Abraham Lincoln and Thomas Jefferson are no longer in the same “group.” The two schools shared District 7 of 4-A last fall.
This year, A.L. will share Group 1 with West Des Moines Dowling, Urbandale, Fort Dodge, Des Moines Roosevelt and Sioux City North.
Thomas Jefferson is part of Group 3 with West Des Moines Valley, Ankeny, Indianola, Sioux City East and Sioux City West.
“Through this new model, we believe we’ve increased the opportunities for schools to play football against schools like their own,” IHSAA executive director Tom Keating said in the release. “Programs experiencing participation challenges believe this is a way to encourage more students to play.”
District/group breakdowns among Nonpareil area schools
Abraham Lincoln, West Des Moines Dowling, Urbandale, Fort Dodge, Des Moines Roosevelt, Sioux City North.
Thomas Jefferson, West Des Moines Valley, Ankeny, Indianola, Sioux City East, Sioux City West.
Lewis Central, Glenwood, Carroll, Creston/Orient-Macksburg, Denison-Schleswig, Harlan.
Treynor, Underwood, East Sac County, Missouri Valley, MVAOCOU, OABCIG.
St. Albert, AHSTW, Riverside, Tri-Center, Sidney, Southwest Valley