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IHSAA announces changes for football and state wrestling tournament

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The IHSAA has announced changes for football and state wrestling in Iowa.

BOONE, Iowa (Courtesy IHSAA) -- The Board of Control approved and accepted the lone recommendation out of recent meetings of the joint IHSAA and IGHSAU classification committee, adding one classification of football ahead of the 2021 season.

The new classification will be Class 5A, adding an 11-player group to reduce the disparity in enrollment in the IHSAA’s largest class of football, and to increase the number of participating teams and student-athletes in the postseason.

The board approved separate scheduling and playoff plans across the seven football classifications:

Class 5A, Class 4A, Class 3A: 36 teams, 9 regular season games, 16 playoff qualifiers.

Class 2A, Class 1A: 48 teams, 8 regular season games, 32 playoff qualifiers.

Class A: Remainder of 11-player teams, 8 regular season games, 32 playoff qualifiers.

Eight-Player: All 8-player teams, 8 regular season games, 32 playoff qualifiers.

Teams in 2A, 1A, A, and 8P will be permitted to play a ninth regular season contest should they not qualify for the postseason.

Additional information regarding playoff qualification and district assignments will be released at a later date.

Member schools will be contacted to confirm BEDS data; questions or concerns must be directed to the Iowa Department of Education and the IHSAA.


With COVID-19 precautions and attendance restrictions in place, the Board of Control determined Thursday to conduct the 2021 IHSAA State Wrestling Championships as currently scheduled at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines.

The state dual team tournament (Wednesday) and state traditional tournament (Thursday, Friday, Saturday) remain planned to run in their usual sessions and formats from February 17-20. Competition and spectator guidelines for these IHSAA events will continue to follow the most updated proclamations and guidance with state and local government officials, and Iowa Events Center.

“The IHSAA is grateful to all those who have worked to make this wrestling season possible,” IHSAA executive director Tom Keating said. “The board feels strongly that the traditional schedule can be safely completed for the largest possible competition and audience at each day of the 2021 IHSAA State Wrestling Championships.”

Social distancing requirements and COVID-19 related safety precautions will limit spectator capacity, create reserved seating blocks, and change participant procedures at Wells Fargo Arena. The IHSAA State Wrestling Championships average more than 75,000 attendees across all sessions annually, but capacity will currently allow for less than 4,000 tickets per session this year.

The traditional tournament features 672 individual qualifiers from more than 200 member school wrestling programs. The dual team tournament qualifies eight teams per classification and has been contested on the day before the traditional tournament since moving to Wells Fargo Arena in 2012.

Brad Pautsch

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