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Indiana Adds Sixth Class To Football Leagues

Eastbrook High School plays Western High School in a football game in 2008.

Indiana’s athletic association has chosen to add another class to high school football, bringing the total to six.

The Indiana High School Athletic Association‘s Executive Board has voted to add Class 6A to be comprised of the 32 largest schools currently in Class 5A, with the remaining 32 schools remaining at the 5A level. The IHSAA will divide the remaining schools evenly into classes 4A, 3A, 2A, and single-A. The new class assignments will be announced next winter and take effect for the 2013-2014 school year.

The IHSAA will also create a points system that will apply to all team sports. Schools will accumulate points based on tournament wins over a two-year period. Schools can earn one point for each sectional win, two points for a regional title, three points for a semi-state win, and four points for a state title. However, the most points a team can earn in one year is capped at four points.

A school that earns six points or more during a two-year period would move up to the next higher enrollment class for the following two seasons. The IHSAA will assign points from the 2011-12 and 2012-13 seasons to determine classifications in 2013-2014.

IHSAA Commissioner Bobby Cox says the moves are about fairness and giving more student-athletes the chance to compete for championships.

“Are we returning to an era when we are taking opportunity away from young people or are we going to continue to provide as much opportunity as we can?” he asks.

Last year, seven of the ten schools competing for state football titles were private or parochial schools, but Cox denied that the changes were aimed specifically at those schools. Rick Streiff, the head football caoch at Cathedral High School in Indianapolis, isn‘t worried about the new rules.

“It‘s not really going to change dramatically some of the teams we have historically played. It‘s not going to be a huge difference, I think, coming down the road,” he says.

Cathedral has won the last two state football titles in Class 4A, and his team would be forced to move up to Classs 5A if the new rules were already in effect. Streiff says his team already plays a tough schedule during the regular season, so even if they are forced to move up a class in the future, it won‘t change how they prepare for the season or the playoffs.

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