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KHSAA plans to end “playing up” in football classification

In their final meeting of the 2022-2023 school year, the KHSAA announced a major change to the way football classification is organized.

According to the release from their May 10th meeting:

“As it looks toward realignment during the 2023-24 school year, the Board also directed staff to revise football competition rules to eliminate playing up in class, effective in 2025, as well as resulting options to play down to balance class numbers.”

See what schools requested to play up and why here.

The KHSAA re-aligned classes and districts for the 2023 and 2024 football season. While typically a four-year alignment, the board of control opted to make this a two-year alignment due to enrollment numbers being affected by the pandemic.

Read more about the 2023-2024 alignment here.

Starting in 2025, it appears the KHSAA no longer wants to allow schools to “play up” in a class. Allowing schools to play up makes planning alignment and classification much more difficult and creates a domino effect on the rest of the classification. However, most schools that play up do so for geographic purposes to be in a district where opponents are much closer or in the same timezone.

In this post, the KHSAA states:

  • Schools may request without reason or justification, that the association allow the school to play into a higher classification than the classification for which its ranked enrollment would normally place that school.
  • Absent such a request, the draft alignment will be formed without considering a playing-up option for that school. 
  • The destination class must be specified on the request.
  • If a team(s) elects to play up, then the smallest school in the next class up (or each class if playing up is requested multiple classes) will be given the voluntary option of moving to the class being vacated in an effort to attempt to keep the number of teams in each class approximately equal and thereby adjust the class boundary lines.
  • No more than the lowest three teams will be polled in the event of a playing-up team to determine if the boundary lines for the class are moved.

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