Measure to change high school football landscape passes IIAAA

If implemented, it would fix a system coaches and athletic directors say is flawed.

Indianapolis

From teams to fans, mascots to managers, the high school football landscape in our state is changing. 

A proposal, submitted by coaches, was passed unanimously by the Indiana Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association Wednesday.  If implemented, it would fix a system coaches and athletic directors say is flawed.

"You continue to see some of the same teams at the top each year and trying to come up with a workable solution to try to get some competitive balance back is drew people to this proposal," said Mark DeHart, IIAAA President.

The plan has three parts: 
A 6th class: The 32 largest schools would be moved from Class 5A to Class 6A.

"The Traditional Factor:" Teams dominant in one particular class would be bumped up to a larger, more competitive one.

Playoff seeding: No more blind draw, the top two rated teams would be put on opposite sides of the bracket, increasing the likelihood the two would meet in the final.

DeHart said the plan not only would level the playing field, it would generate more money for Indiana schools.

"Keeping these two schools in it as long as you can probably is going to bring more revenue in and more fans to each of these games," said DeHart.  "If you can sell them to that final game, that can mean big gates."

"I think this is a step in the right direction, I would like to see it go further," said Kevin Wright, Carmel Head Football Coach.

Wright's Greyhounds captured the Class 5A championship this year. He said he is okay with six football classes, but he is not okay with the playoff format the way it is right now.

"I think we are stuck with the 'all in' system, which I am not a fan of," said Wright.  "I think that is a basketball type system that does not apply as well to football because of the physicality and the number of games."

Wright also thinks sectional seeding should not stop with just the top two teams.  He said every team should be stacked where they belong, to make it more difficult for an upset-minded team to make a run in the sectional tournament. 

The proposal now goes before the IHSAA Executive Committee on Feb. 17.  If passed, it goes before the Board of Directors on April 30.
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