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Idaho high school sports classifications could be changing, adding 6A, and eliminating one 1A division

Posted at 5:24 PM, Jun 08, 2023

BOISE, Idaho — The Idaho High School Activities Association voted to advance a proposal that would change High School classifications throughout the state.

Population growth in Idaho also translates into higher enrollment in schools. This proposal is intended to balance the classification and group schools closer together.

Currently, athletic classifications in the state go from 1A to 5A, having two divisions in the 1A class. Under the new proposal, there would still be six classes, but only one 1A class, and a new 6A class.

This would have an impact on which schools compete against each other, and what state titles schools would compete for each year.

If approved in its second reading in August, the new classification would set the bar at 1400 students for the largest classification, 6A. That is an increase from the 1280 benchmark that currently makes up 5A.

“I think increasing the number for that upper level, or the highest classification for the state of Idaho, I think it’s a good thing," said Andy Ankeny, the Athletic Director at Middleton High School. "I think it helps balance things out a little bit, which I see as a positive.”

Middleton is currently a 5A school in the largest enrollment classification. If the proposal were to pass, it would still be in 5A, though it would be considered the second largest enrollment classification.

Ankeny makes the point that many schools hover around the current classification thresholds. Middleton, itself, has been bumped up from 4A in recent years. He says if the proposal is adopted, there would just be different schools hovering around those barriers.

“Now that the number has changed, we’re going to have some different schools that are potentially always at that number. It just depends on population growth or population decline," Ankeny said.

Some people don't think the proposal solves the problems of the current classification system.

Burke Davis, the Principal of Shelley High School, is conflicted about the proposal. He is trying to see its overall impact, but says he thinks the proposal would benefit the largest schools in the state, while not benefiting smaller ones.

“Is it good for the entire state of Idaho?" commented Davis. "Is it good for the 1ADII, 1ADI, 2A, 3A, 4A, 5A? Is it good for the North, the East, the Boise Valley? Because you want it to be overall best picture?"

The proposal will be heard again on August 2. If approved, it would go into effect in the fall of 2024 for the 2024-25 school year.

Here are the documents if you want to review them, including the current classification and proposed classification.