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IHSAA announces postseason changes

Football and wrestling to see state tournament qualifying adjustments

BOONE– The Iowa High School Athletic Association (IHSAA) announced changes to postseason state tournament qualifying Thursday, April 25. The association instituted new qualifying procedures in 2018-19 for football and wrestling, and the board of control met on Wednesday, April 24, to tweak those based on recommendations from sport advisory committees ahead of the 2019-20 postseasons.
Three changes were made in football qualifying regarding the impact of the year-old Rating Percentage Index (RPI) to determine at-large playoff qualifiers and placements. Wrestling will have a value change when computerized seeding is made for the 2020 state individual tournament. Also, the board of control allowed for an inquiry into a potential date change for future state dual team tournaments.
Football: The first of three adjustments to playoff qualification is the determination of one district champion for automatic qualification out of each district in all classifications. Two-way ties are broken by head-to-head competition, but true three-way district ties see the team with the highest RPI becoming the district champion with the other two teams entering the at-large field.
The second change has head-to-head competition superseding RPI for the final at-large qualifying spot if the two teams are side-by-side in the final rankings. The third update uses head-to-head play over RPI to determine seeding if the two teams are directly side-by-side in the RPI’s final rankings.
“The first year of football RPI was an excellent learning experience,” IHSAA Executive Director Alan Beste said. “We are confident the recommendations from the advisory committee and our staff will help address concerns coming out of 2018.”
Wrestling: The sport’s advisory committee recommended increasing the criteria point values of head-to-head competition and common opponents in the seeding process for the state traditional tournament as wrestlers’ resumes are stacked up against each other in the TrackWrestling-generated formula. In its first year, all seeding criteria was worth one point. The two criteria will now top the list and be worth two points each. The board of control passed the measure unanimously.
Another approved recommendation was to allow for an investigation of moving the state dual team tournament to a date prior to the IHSAA’s current individual postseason series. The 2020 state duals remain on Feb. 19, the day before the traditional tournament begins.
“The dates, qualifying procedures, and competition at regional and state duals are frequently discussed by our coaches and administrators, and we’d like to examine updated data and other states’ models to consider ways to improve the event,” Beste said. “While we can’t guarantee changes will be made, we’re committed to an in-depth look at possible options.”