IHSAA to vote on reclassification proposal in August

Posted at 5:31 PM, Jul 18, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-18 19:32:06-04

High schools across the state could face a major change when it comes to classification, as the Idaho High School Activities Association (IHSAA) is considering a proposal that takes into the account the number of students receiving free or reduced lunches at each member school. 

Currently, schools are assigned classification based strictly on enrollment. However, this new proposal would also factor in the socioeconomic status and competitive history at each school. 

"This proposal was not meant to hang banners in a gym," said Josh Hegstad, Caldwell High School Athletic Director and member of IHSAA's reclassification committee. "It's to allow schools to compete with other schools in similar situations week in and week out."

Hegstad says this proposal has been in discussion for about four years, with the goal of providing competitive equity for student-athletes across Idaho. Under the proposal, placement would also be determined by the socioeconomic status of each school. 

"We have some schools that have a lot of resources, that have a lot of ability in their schools, that are awesome programs and awesome teams," Hegstad said. "It's schools that do not have those resources that struggle competing against those teams in a year in and year out basis."

The proposal needs a majority vote from the IHSAA Board of Directors in order to pass.

"I can definitely see pros and cons to both sides," said Ty Jones, IHSAA Director. "I know that the system that we have right now has worked, for the most part. I know that if this system passes through, our office is going to be able to work with that system as well. We'll adapt to whatever the board and the member schools want."

Officials say schools would still have the right to petition to either "play up" or "play down," essentially moving classifications. 

The board will vote at its next meeting on Wednesday, Aug. 2. If approved, reclassification would not take effect until the 2018-19 school year.