The Iowa High School Athletic Association Board of Control voted today to expand the football playoffs from 16 to 32 teams in each class beginning in the 2008 season. Association spokesman Bud Legg, says it’s an issue that’s been under discussion for some time, as for the last four or five years they’ve had inquiries from schools about expanding the playoffs.
Legg says there were schools that were close to the playoffs, but didn’t make it. He says a process was set up to find the best way to correct it. There have been cases where there are several good teams in a district and only one makes it to the playoffs. Legg says perhaps the expansion will prevent that from happening, which he says is good for the kids.
Legg says the change will mean starting the season a week earlier. Legg says everyone will have a nine-game schedule and the regular season will now end on what is now week eight. The regular season will start a week earlier, the playoffs will start one week earlier, and Legg says they’s still be done by Thanksgiving weekend.
Legg says the expansion will change the way the playoff teams are selected. The first four teams in each district 3A, 2A, 1A, A, and eight player will qualify for the playoffs. There will be 16 teams that qualify from the east and 16 from the west side in the state in 4A, with the conference winners being automatic qualifiers. The IHSAA will re-district the teams in 3A, 2A, 1A, A and eight-player this winter as part of the process that re-districts teams every two years. The football playoff system was created in 1972.