District football: what it is and how it affects every season


Ian Wilger

Senior Jose Lara fields a kick in Pleasant Valley’s game against Bettendorf in August.

Jack Donahue, Opinion Editor

In Iowa, district football is nothing new, but its impact affects every season. The 2014-2015 high school football season was the first year to feature a district scheduling format. While the Iowa High School Athletic Association (IAHSAA)  adopted a district format for state playoffs in 1992, the new scheduling format has affected the regular-season games as well.

The purpose of district football is for opponents to be of the same school size and relatively close to one another. It has also made it easier for all teams across the state to schedule nine games per season.

There are two sets of classification the IAHSAA has adopted to ensure this. The first of those are classes that separate each school into four categories based on school size. The second is districts that separate the schools in each class based on the geographical location. From there each team’s schedule consists of their district opponents as well as a few games against other opponents within the same class. 

The district scheduling format assures that opponents are of similar school size and close to one another. “We can’t afford to take a Friday night off. We don’t have any ‘gimme’ games against smaller schools, every opponent we play is a big and good school,” senior Sam Necker said.

However, the effects of the district scheduling format have not all been positive. Athletic director D’Anne Kroemer said the scheduling format forced PV’s hands to lose some local rivalries. “We have been fortunate enough to keep it (the rivalry) between North Scott and PV. However, we are only guaranteed one game outside of our district, and every year we have to choose Bettendorf over Assumption for that game,” Kromer said. 

The small rivalry between Pleasant Valley and Assumption no longer exists in football. PV competes in class 4A, while Assumption belongs in class 3A due to their size. The two haven’t played since the scheduling format change took place back in 2014-2015.

Other high school sports use a conference scheduling format. For example, basketball and many other sports, other than a few out of conference games, play each opponent in the Mississippi Athletic Conference (MAC) once or twice.

Kroemer attributed the schedule change to scheduling issues with the old format. “It was very easy for the MAC to schedule nine games because the conference consisted of ten teams. However, not every conference is like the MAC and ran into issues with scheduling,” Kroemer said.

The IAHSAA has assured most Friday night matchups result in competitive and hard-fought games with the use of district scheduling. However, it has come at the costs for some teams, like PV and Assumption, to drop their long-lasting rivalry.