116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
The first step has been made for a socioeconomic factor to play a role in Iowa high school football classification as early as next fall.
On Monday, the Iowa High School Athletic Association board of control approved a recommendation from the IHSAA classification committee to adopt a model similar to one currently used by the Minnesota State High School League.
The Minnesota system calls for the reduction of a school’s free and reduced lunch count from the annual enrollment to determine a final classification model.
If approved by member schools (50 percent of all member schools, OR 60 percent of the member schools that vote) in a vote Dec. 16-22, the amendment will be submitted to the Iowa Board of Education for approval.
If it passes there, the amendment will go into effect starting with the 2023 football season.
“I want to commend the IHSAA classification committee, the board of control and the IHSAA staff for their important work on this study and resulting recommendation,” IHSAA executive director Tom Keating said in a news release Tuesday.
“Our schools have asked us to consider socioeconomic factors in classification and the IHSAA, after much study and discussion, is pleased to offer such a strategy.”
The amendment, if passed, will go into effect for football only — for now.
“The overwhelming majority of communication regarding concerns with competitive equity referenced football,” Keating said. “Additionally, football is the only sport in which the regular season is scheduled by the IHSAA. In all other sports, individual schools, through conference affiliation or their non-conference opponents, determine their own regular season schedules.
“We will continue to study other sports to determine if this model should be applied.”
Cedar Rapids Washington football coach Maurice Blue said the model “sounds fair” and “from an equity standpoint, totally makes sense.”
Washington was a Class 4A football team the last two years and probably will be teetering on the 4A/5A line for 2023 and 2024.
“I don’t want to make excuses, but the reality of the situation is that the lower the socioeconomic status, the more difficult it is,” Blue said. “We’re not afraid to play 5A schools, but to play a nine-game schedule of them could be a real test.”
Here is an example of the proposed model submitted by the IHSAA:
A school’s BEDS enrollment (9-11) for the upcoming school year is 1,000. The district’s FRL percentage is 37%.
1,000 – (0.40 x [1,000 x 0.37])
1,000 – (0.40 x 370)
1,000 – 148
IHSAA classification number: 852
* * * * *
Cedar Rapids Jefferson: BEDS 1,189, 62.8% F&RL = 890.60 adjusted BEDS
Cedar Rapids Kennedy: BEDS 1,296, 32.9% F&RL = 1,125.60 adjusted BEDS
Cedar Rapids Prairie: BEDS 1,334, 30.5% F&RL = 1,171.20 adjusted BEDS
Cedar Rapids Washington: BEDS 978, 52.8% F&RL = 771.60 adjusted BEDS
Iowa City High: BEDS 1,154, 40.1% F&RL = 968.80 adjusted BEDS
Iowa City Liberty: BEDS 861, 25.2% F&RL = 774.20 adjusted BEDS
Iowa City West: BEDS 1,096, 35.1% F&RL = 942.00 adjusted BEDS
Linn-Mar: BEDS 1,733, 20.8% F&RL = 1,589.00 adjusted BEDS
Marion: BEDS 530, 27.0% F&RL = 472.80 adjusted BEDS