Iowa prep football playoff field to shrink

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Iowa's high school football playoff qualifying teams will be cut in half starting in 2016.

In a unanimous vote, the Iowa High School Athletic Association's Board of Control has voted to adopt a nine-game regular season schedule and 16-team qualifier field for all football classes in the playoffs starting in 2016. The change means a reduction from 32 teams who currently qualify for the postseason in each class.

The schedules for this fall and the 2015 regular season and playoffs remain unchanged.

The move comes after review of the current playoff system which allows fewer days of rest and recovery between each game in the postseason. In a nod toward player safety and risk-minimization, the IHSAA has been looking at several options.

"Today's actions put in place a scenario for the football postseason which allows for one week between games," IHSAA Executive Director Alan Beste said in a statement released on Monday. "The driving force behind this decision is player safety and keeping the best interest of our students at the forefront."

Football is the largest high school participation sport in Iowa among males with 20,630 participants, according to the 2013-2014 IHSAA annual participation survey.

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