Iowa High School football playoff field is being cut back to 16 teams. The Board of Control of the Iowa High School Athletic Association has approved a nine game regular season and a 16 team playoff field beginning with the 2016 season.
Currently, 32 teams make up the playoff field in each class. Association executive director Alan Beste says player safety was the primary factor. “There’s more and more research that shows that players should not play more than one game a week,” Beste says.
Beste says they looked at several options which would have preserved the current format, including reducing the regular season to eight games. He says they met with the football coaches, athletic directors and administrators and unanimously voted to reduce the playoff field.
Beste says preserving the current playoff system with just one game per week would have required moving the start of the regular season into the middle of August. He says the other options were to cut the number of regular season games or qualifiers, but everyone wanted to preserve the 9 game schedule.
It is the first reduction in the post season field since the playoffs began in 1972.