Change is coming again to the prep football scene in Iowa.
The Iowa High School Athletic Association announced Wednesday afternoon there will be changes to how schools are classified for the 2018-19 football.
Using recommendations made by the IHSAA’s Classification Committee last month, the Board unanimously agreed to decrease the current number of schools in Classes 4A, 3A, 2A, and 1A, and raise the enrollment cap for 8-Player programs.
Class 4A will drop from 48 schools to 42, Class 3A will include the next 54, followed by 54 in 2A and 54 in 1A. The remaining schools are all eligible for Class A.
The IHSAA also bumped up the minimum requirement for 8-man from 115 to 120 enrolled in grades 9 through 11.
Based on 2017-18 enrollment, Mason City would stay in 4A as it has 42nd-largest enrollment. The only noteworthy change would be Algona being on the bubble between 3A and 2A – it would currently be the largest 2A school.
Bishop Garrigan and Newman Catholic would each be eligible to play 8-man, but that has been true for the past few years as well.
“These changes in classifications will allow schools to continue to evaluate their respective football programs and try and define what needs best fit their program,” assistant director and football administrator for the IHSAA Todd Tharp said in a release.
“For some programs, the aspect of potentially playing more non-district opponents may lead to creating a more balanced schedule for them, potentially increasing student participation as schools, while others may attempt to challenge themselves with more competitive non-district games.”
Competitive balance, revitalizing rivalry games, reducing non-district travel, potentially increasing participation and trimming enrollment gap in Iowa's largest class were the biggest reasons for the changes, according to the IHSAA.
District and playoff changes were not voted on.