The proposed amendment to the Articles of Incorporation will add a socioeconomic factor to football classifications starting in 2023-24, implementing a formula for free and reduced lunch percentages and school enrollments to determine new final classification numbers.
Members of the State Board of Education addressed the proposal in the final item of their monthly meeting and voted unanimously in favor of the amendment (see below) after lengthy discussion.
“We appreciate the State Board of Education’s diligence and careful consideration of the proposal our membership has asked us to implement,” IHSAA executive director Tom Keating said. “This classification model is an important first step in addressing competitive equity in the sport of football.”
The IHSAA was represented at the Grimes Building by Keating, Board of Control chairperson and Denison principal Dave Wiebers, and legal counsel Brian Humke. Through its articles and 28E agreement with the Iowa Department of Education, the IHSAA must submit policies, amendments, and information through the State Board of Education.
IHSAA staff responded to numerous state board inquiries ahead of the meeting regarding the proposal, which began through a recommendation of the IHSAA classification committee and received “yes” votes from 80 percent of voting schools in December.
The classification adjustment will reduce 40 percent of a school’s free or reduced lunch (FRL) count from their annual enrollment to determine their final classification number.
“The State Board recognized the historical competitive challenges, supported by the data our staff assembled, which some of our schools have experienced,” Keating said. “The Board acknowledged the support from our member schools in this issue.”
The IHSAA will move forward with an updated football redistricting process this offseason. This will include releasing updated BEDS (9-11) numbers and compiling available FRL percentages from the Iowa Department of Education once available, developing new district and group assignments, then new schedules for the two-year cycle. Each of these will be shared as soon as they become available.