IHSA reverses decision to begin seeding 1-to-32 in Class 1A through 6A

Originally passed measure in February to have all classes 1 to 32

In a decision that garnered widespread approval, the IHSA Board in February approved a policy change to how the football playoffs would be seeded for all eight classifications.

That decision indicated that all eight classifications would be seeded 1-to-32 and not be broken into two 16-team brackets based on geography. Prior to the ruling, only Class 7A and 8A were seeded in open 1-to-32 brackets.

But the IHSA reversed course at Monday’s board meeting, rescinding the February ruling because of increased travel costs. Class 7A and 8A will remain in 1-to-32 brackets while Class 1A to Class 6A will remain in brackets of 16 teams, split by geography.

“In February, I was a proponent of the change in the seeding process for the IHSA Class 1A-6A Football Playoffs,” Rockridge principal and IHSA board president Katy Hasson said in a release. “When taking into account the current fuel prices, and the fact that this change will create more travel for schools and fans, myself and several other Board members were no longer comfortable implementing the change at this time. I do expect that when fuel prices return to a more manageable price level the Board will revisit this topic.”

The IHSA playoffs had not been seeded 1-to-32 for all classifications since 2001. The change back to that format was largely welcomed because of the belief that it would lead to more competitive championship weekends.

In the 114 championships that have been contested since the brackets were moved into a geographic-based system, 81 of the champions had come from the north side of the bracket, many by lopsided margins.

In only two of the six classifications has the south bracket held its own in the finals, Class 4A and Class 5A. And that’s largely because of the success of two schools, Rochester and Sacred Heart-Griffin.

The disparity has been particularly wide in Class 2A, where 18 of the 19 champions have come from the north side of the bracket.