UPDATE: Listen to a full explanation and reaction from Algona and Bishop Garrigan coaches below:
The Iowa High School Athletic Association announced the state’s 2018-19 district assignments and classifications Thursday. A new playoff system will also be in place with most teams now playing four non-district games and an RPI formula being used to determine some playoff teams.
The full announcement can be read here.
Area Schools’ Assignments
The Algona Bulldogs have moved down from calss 3A to 2A. In 2018-19 it will play in District 2, which is composed of Clarion-Goldfield-Dows, Estherville Lincoln Central, Garner-Hayfield-Ventura, Southeast Valley, and Spirit Lake. The Bulldogs’ schedule will be composed of four non-district games and five district games. Class 3A, 2A, and 1A each have 54 teams divided into nine districts of six teams.
The Bishop Garrigan Golden Bears and North Union Warriors remain in class A and will compete in District 3 along with five others: Belmond-Klemme, Graettinger-Terril/Ruthven-Ayrshire (whom moved up from 8-player), West Fork, and West Hancock. The Bears and Warriors will both have schedules with four non-district games. Class A football is made up of 62 teams in eight districts with six teams and two districts with seven teams. Those class A teams in seven-team districts will play only three non-district games.
The West Bend-Mallard Wolverines will play in 8-player District 1, which features seven other teams: Ar-We-Va, Clay Central-Everly, Harris-Lake Park, Kingsley-Pierson, Newell-Fonda, River Valley, and St. Mary’s. 8-player football is composed of 65 teams divided into seven districts of eight teams and one nine-team district. All 8-player teams except those in the nine-team district will play two non-district games.
Playoff Qualification Changes
16 teams qualify for the playoffs at each classification, which means no change in that respect. However, in the past, the top two teams from each district automatically qualified for the playoffs with a 17-point max point differential tiebreaker being used when necessary. For 2018-19, each district champion and tying district champion will automatically qualify.
For the “wildcards,” or non-district champs, the IHSAA will introduce the Ratings Performance Index to determine the rest of the field. The RPI formula factors teams’ win percentage and strength of schedule by factoring in opponents win percentage and a team’s opponent’s opponent’s win percentage. Classification differences between non-district opponents does not affect RPI. The IHSAA formula is the same of that used by the NCAA in helping to help qualify teams.