The Indiana High School Athletic Association and Indiana Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association is moving forward with a four-class proposal that would classify schools by set enrollment numbers instead of splitting the classes evenly.
IHSAA commissioner Paul Neidig discussed the plan Tuesday with athletic directors from around the state at the annual IIAAA state conference in Indianapolis. The proposal, which will be voted on by the IHSAA executive committee in May, is a joint proposal from the IHSAA and IIAAA, the latter which had previously discussed adding a fifth class to the current four-class sports of boys and girls basketball, baseball, softball and volleyball.
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“I told them early on supporting a fifth class with 407 schools might be tough,” Neidig said. “How many classes do you need to run a quality tournament? We looked at the numbers and drew out what some of the sectionals would look like and you would have had significant travel for some schools multiple times during the week.”
The idea of a setting the classes by fixed enrollments was appealing, Neidig said. Under the proposal, the classes for basketball, baseball, softball and volleyball would look like this:
Class 4A: 1,400 enrollment and up
Class 3A: 600-1,399 enrollment
Class 2A: 325-599 enrollment
Class A: 324 enrollment and down
Under the current enrollment numbers that would put 68 schools in Class 4A, 101 in 3A, 116 in 2A and 117 in Class A for boys basketball (roughly the same for other sports).
As previously reported, the reasons the IIAAA was looking at the proposal stemmed from a widening gap in enrollment from the largest schools in 4A to the smallest (in the last enrollment cycle there were 13 schools with an enrollment of 3,200 students and larger in 4A and at least 31 with a number less than 1,400).
Some of the feedback Neidig received Tuesday centered on the 1,400 number at the bottom of 4A needing to be higher. But a lower number of schools participating in 4A would further spread out sectional alignments and cause increased travel in sports that play multiple sectional games in a week.
Other issues for looking at a change were the increase in charter schools and private schools coming into the IHSAA that are smaller schools that push up other schools that have not necessarily increased in enrollment. The fixed enrollments would also keep schools in the same class in multiple sports, minus the application of the success factor.
“We felt like we could accomplish the goals of the athletic directors' proposals with four classes,” Neidig said.
Neidig added that the IHSAA is also looking at an alteration to the tournament success factor that would be a “rolling” success factor instead of the current two-year cycle that starts over from zero.
If the proposal on the fixed enrollment passes, it would not go into effect until the 2024-25 school year. Under the current enrollment numbers, basketball programs currently playing in 4A that would drop to 3A include Cathedral, New Palestine, Crispus Attucks and Roncalli. Bedford North Lawrence, the 4A girls basketball state champion, is right on the 4A/3A edge as the 69th-largest school in the last enrollment cycle.
Call Star reporter Kyle Neddenriep at (317) 444-6649.
This article originally appeared on Indianapolis Star: IHSAA executive committee to vote on fixed enrollment proposal in May