BOONE — The Iowa Football Coaches Association submitted a suggestion earlier this month to the Iowa High School Athletic Association that would expand the current structure of prep football from six classes to eight.
New would be Class 5A, which would include the 24 largest schools in the state, with the next 24 schools making up Class 4A. Classes 3A, 2A, and 1A would each have, in descending order, 48 schools, with Class A comprising all schools below 1A and above the 130 maximum allowed for 8-player football.
Eight-player would also be divided, with the largest half termed “Upper” 8-player and the smaller half “Lower” 8-player. The IHSAA is not bound to act upon the matter.
School size is determined by BEDS numbers from the previous school year. BEDS numbers total the enrollment of all students in grades 9, 10, and 11.
Iowa expanded from four classes to five in 1981 when Class A was created, with 8-player returning in 1998 after not being played (six-player once existed as well) since the 1950s. In 2000 the 8-player teams were added to the playoffs; the last expansion came in 2012 when 3A, 2A, and 1A were paired to 56 from 64 to expand A, which had shrunk as teams deliberately fled to the 8-player ranks.
If the change is implemented, it would use BEDS numbers for this year, which have not been released. Waukee is currently the largest district in Iowa at 2,267, but it about to divide into two districts with the opening of North Waukee. West Des Moines Valley is currently second at 2,192, with Norwalk 47th at 704 and possibly subject to a move depending on the Waukee situation.
Under the current BEDS numbers the largest/smallest in each class would be as follows:
- 5A: 1. Waukee (2,267) and 24. Sioux City East (1,119).
4A: 25. Pleasant Valley (1,116) and 48. Lewis Central (677).
3A: 49. Western Dubuque (674) and 96. Vinton-Shellsburg (352).
2A: 97. Center Point-Urbana (348) and 144. Shenandoah (229).
1A: 145: Unity Christian (227) and 192. East Sac County (174).
A: 193. Pekin (173) and 252. BCLUW (130).
U8: 253. New London (128) and 307. Baxter (90).
L8: 308: Moravia (88) and remainder.
No area schools would be effected. DC-G is 50th at 644 and would remain in 3A, as would ADM (70th, 398) and Perry (75th, 388). Greene County (124th, 259) would stay in 2A, with both Panorama (152nd, 212) and Woodward-Granger (176th, 184) remaining in 1A while Ogden (216th, 153) and Madrid (217th, 152) both staying put in Class A.