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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
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Copyright © 2003 Express Publishing Inc.
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For the week of October 15 - 21, 2003


Eight-man headed for two-tiered playoffs

Carey argues for change

If you’re an eight-man football supporter in Idaho and you don’t like the way the state playoffs are set up in 2003, just hold your breath and wait a year. Change is on its way.

There will be a whole new system in 2004, according to a decision made by the Idaho High School Activities Association at its board of directors meeting Sept. 23 in Pocatello.

It will be a two-tiered state playoff system featuring an eight-team 1A Division 1 for bigger schools and an eight-team 1A Division 2 for smaller schools. The upshot: Eight more schools qualify for the state playoffs.

The only question remaining is what student population number will be used to form the dividing line between big and small school playoffs.

But the first hurdle of fair treatment has been cleared—getting IHSAA approval to separate 1A schools like Sho-Ban with student populations of 130 from schools like Carey with student totals of 63 for four grades.

Thanks to a determined push by Carey School and Blaine County School District superintendent Dr. Jim Lewis, the 42 Gem State schools playing football at the 1A student population level will now be divided further along lines of population.

After arguments in favor of the proposal by Lewis and superintendent Robin Stanley of Mullan, the IHSAA board on Sept. 23 unanimously approved the Carey proposal of two eight-team state playoff divisions for a three-year, 2004-06 classification cycle.

Carey football coach Lane Kirkland, who developed the proposal with his assistant coach Lee Cook, said, "We’ve got our foot in the door and it’s great to finally be recognized."

However, the IHSAA left a big question unanswered by assigning the responsibility for deciding the numbers for Division 1 or Division 2 to each separate district. As Kirkland said, the 1A schools are plainly bigger in the Boise area, whereas the schools are smaller in the Magic Valley region.

Kirkland said, "So it doesn’t establish the equity we were really looking forward to. Hopefully we can work with this in the months to come."

The IHSAA will do the final reading of the proposal in December. In the meantime, IHSAA executive director Bill Young is making a tour of the 1A districts in the state in order to get a consensus on the numbers issue.

Young is due to meet with school representatives from the Sawtooth and Magic Valley conferences (Districts 4-6) today, Wednesday at the Taylor Building of the College of Southern Idaho in Twin Falls.

Since the smallest 1A school playing football is at 41 and the largest is at 159, Kirkland said he hopes the IHSAA board will come to realize that the proper cutoff is about 100.


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The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.