Eight-man headed for two-tiered
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
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
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
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.