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IHSAA: High school football classification changes approved by state Board of Education

The adjustment will reduce 40% of a school's free or reduced lunch count from their annual enrollment to determine their final classification number.

DES MOINES, Iowa — The Iowa Board of Education unanimously approved an amendment that would update high school football classifications for the 2023-24 school year, according to a release from the Iowa High School Athletic Association

The proposed amendment, which was also approved by the IHSAA's Board of Control, will add a socioeconomic factor to football classifications next year by implementing a formula for free and reduced lunch percentages and school enrollments to determine new final classification numbers. 

“We appreciate the State Board of Education’s diligence and careful consideration of the proposal our membership has asked us to implement,” IHSAA executive director Tom Keating said. “This classification model is an important first step in addressing competitive equity in the sport of football.”

IHSAA will move forward with football redistricting this offseason, which will include releasing updated BEDS (9-11) numbers and compiling available free and reduced lunch percentages from the Iowa DOE once available, developing new district and group assignments, then new schedules for the two-year cycle. 

“The State Board recognized the historical competitive challenges, supported by the data our staff assembled, which some of our schools have experienced,” Keating said. “The Board acknowledged the support from our member schools in this issue.”

The IHSAA plans to begin the updated football redistricting process this offseason. Those plans will be shared "as soon as they become available." 

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