District football could be coming to class 4A as soon as next year. The state’s largest class still uses a conference setup as opposed to a district format that the five other classes in Iowa use.
Todd Tharp of the Iowa High School Athletic Association says they survey schools about ever four to five years and they are doing that now with the 47 largest schools to see if they are interested in districts. Tharp says there have been some concerns with the larger schools, particularly those that have dropped below the 700 student number that they used for districts.
Tharp says some schools have expressed concern that a district format could tear them away from their conference foes. He says the districts could have something like Mason City and Fort Dodge playing again like they used to, and some schools are worried they would lose rivalries. But he says the smaller schools have gotten over some of those concerns.
Tharp says a move to district football would not change the playoff format in class 4A. He says they’ll sill take 32 qualifiers, and there could be some debate if teams with losing records make the playoffs.
Tharp says the surveys are supposed to be turned in by the end of this week. They have two questions, are you interested in the status quo or district football, and if they are interested in districts, they are given three options.
Tharp says they have not decided on what percentage of schools need to request a change to go through with it but a decision will be made by the end of the year. He says at that time they will just be getting the numbers for reclassifying the schools based on their size.
By Elwin Huffman KOEL Oelwein