Indiana high school football is about to grow.
Starting with the 2013-14 school year, Indiana will move to a six-class football tournament. The big change was announced Friday by the Indiana High School Athletic Association.
Under the new format, the current Class 5A will be split in two with the largest 32 schools by enrollment making up Class 6A and schools ranking 33-64 staying in Class 5A.
Based on the current alignment, Penn and Warsaw would move to 6A, while Michigan City, LaPorte, Elkhart Memorial, Elkhart Central, Goshen and South Bend Adams would play in the 5A tournament.
Each team in 6A and 5A would have a bye week to start state tournament play and begin in what is currently the sectional semifinal round.
The remaining schools will be evenly divided between Classes 4A, 3A, 2A and 1A and continue playing in a six-week tournament format. The new classifications will be announced next winter followed by the sectional alignments.
“I am extremely encouraged by the vision and valor of our Executive Committee in making these progressive decisions on behalf of student-athletes in the Hoosier state,” said IHSAA Commissioner Bobby Cox. “It is my belief that these changes significantly address competition issues in football and will prove to enhance the team sport experience across all other disciplines.”
The Executive Committee voted to adopt the sixth class by a 13-5 vote but rejected seeding the sectionals (1-17) as well as realigning the schools (0-18) every four years in favor of the two-year tournament format.
The committee also voted unanimously to return the girls basketball state finals and its four state championship games to Terre Haute for a second year.
In addition, the panel voted to realign the IHSAA baseball, basketball, soccer, softball and volleyball tournaments every two years and approved an accumulation of points by which any school would move up one class based on tournament series performance during that time.
On a sport-by-sport basis, schools will earn one point for a sectional championship, two points for a regional title, three points for winning semi-state and four points for taking a state championship crown.
The maximum number of points a team can earn in a single year is four points. If a school earns six points or more during a specific two-year period, for instance two state championship game appearances, that school would compete in the next higher enrollment class for the following two seasons.
Tournament success achieved during the 2011-12 and 2012-13 school years will be used to determine classifications in 2013-14.