DES MOINES, Iowa -- Iowa High School football playoffs will be reduced from 32 to 16 teams starting fall 2016.
The Iowa High School Athletic Association’s Board of Control voted to adopt a nine game regular season schedule and 16‐team qualifier field for all football classes in the playoffs.
The change means a reduction from 32 teams who currently qualify for the postseason in each class.
The schedules for this fall and the 2015 regular season and playoffs remain unchanged as previously published at http://www.iahsaa.org. The move comes after review of the current playoff system which allows fewer days of rest and recovery between each game in the postseason. In a nod toward player safety and risk‐minimization, the IHSAA has been looking at several options.
“Today’s actions put in place a scenario for the football postseason which allows for one week between games,” said Alan Beste, IHSAA Executive Director. “The driving force behind this decision is player safety and keeping the best interest of our students at the forefront.”
At their meeting on April 29, the IHSAA Board of Control had a discussion regarding the football start date and schedule beginning with the 2016 season.
The Board considered many options at that meeting, but decided to gather further input from the IHSAA membership through the IHSAA Representative Council, Iowa High School Athletic Directors Association, and Iowa Football Coaches Association.
It was decided the best way to have a collaborative discussion among those groups was to provide information regarding various options and have a large‐group discussion at the June 15 IHSAA Representative Council meeting.
The move came about as an attempt to give the parties involved time to seek input from their constituents and be ready to have meaningful discussion at the IHSAA Representative Council. At today’s meeting, representatives from the IHSADA and IFCA discussed the issue amongst the IHSAA Representative Council. Also present for the discussion were members of the IHSAA administrative team as well as the IHSAA Board of Control.
Following the Representative Council meeting, the IHSAA Board of Control convened and in a unanimous vote decided to retain nine regular season games and move toward a 16‐team playoff qualifier structure.
Football is the largest high school participation sport in Iowa among males with 20,630 participants, according to the 2013‐2014 IHSAA annual participation survey.