This spring, the IHSAA conducted its first official membership survey since 2013 to gather feedback from member schools and better determine school administrator input on policies, schedules, and activities.

The brief online survey was sent to superintendents, principals, and athletics/activities directors from each of the IHSAA’s 367 member high schools. Each of those administrators was encouraged to submit their responses, with shared duties resulting in around 1,000 possible respondents statewide. The 20-question survey received 528 submissions. Complete results are available for review below.

Questions were presented in yes-or-no or multiple choice format and were centered on recent IHSAA and Unified Activity Federation changes, and the most commonly discussed topics among the Board of Control, Representative Council, advisory committees, and through district and sport association meetings. Context was offered on numerous questions through “background” which provided brief details and links on policy or format.

 
Selected highlights…

Family Week: 94% of respondents supported Family Week, a 2021 addition of a non-contact period in late summer across Iowa’s Unified Activities organizations.

Interstate Competition: 78% of respondents supported the IHSAA’s current policy on interstate competition, which limits member schools to travel to states contiguous to Iowa, plus Kansas.

Football Scheduling: 74% of respondents wanted the IHSAA to maintain the responsibility of regular season scheduling for football. When offered options to schedule their own contests, member schools mostly selected “no.”

Baseball Games: 83% of respondents supported lowering the permitted number of regular season baseball games, which is currently the highest of all IHSAA sports at 40. The most selected option was 30 games, receiving 44% of votes.

 

Other topics included coach-athlete contact, winter break, state wrestling, spring scheduling, unified activities, junior high sports, and an open-ended option for future survey recommendations.

Complete results are available for review below.

Graphs displaying results can be clicked on and expanded to view.

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SURVEY RESPONDENTS

Online survey emailed to each superintendent, principal, athletic/activity director at 367 member schools.

Survey received 528 responses, averaged 5:48 to complete.

By Position

  • Superintendents: 141
  • Principals 121
  • Athletics/Activities Directors: 265

 

By Classification (Four Class)

  • Class 4A: 65
  • Class 3A: 111
  • Class 2A: 145
  • Class 1A: 204

 

By District

  • Central: 108
  • Northeast: 133
  • Northwest: 85
  • Southeast: 104
  • Southwest: 97

 

By Administrator Experience

  • 21 or more years: 80
  • 11-20 years: 179
  • 4-10 years: 151
  • 3 or fewer years: 117

QUESTIONS: POLICIES & SCHEDULES

COACH-ATHLETE CONTACT

 

Q: Would you support a recommendation to permit more and approved coaching contact with student-athletes out of season? This could allow authorized coaches or school personnel to work within established periods before or after a sport’s assigned season.

Background: Iowa Administrative Code 281-36.15(6) regulates coach-athlete contact under “Summer camps and clinics and coaching contacts out of season.”

 

  • YES: 315
  • NO: 195
WINTER BREAK

 

Q: Should the IHSAA permit winter sports competition over the winter break of December 24 through January 1? 

Background: Current policy permits practice but no competition over winter break.

 

  • YES: 139
  • NO: 375
FAMILY WEEK

 

Q: What is your opinion on the “Family Week” dead period instituted by Iowa’s Unified Activities organizations? The 2023 period is currently scheduled for July 23-30.

Background: Family Week was instituted in 2021.

 

  • SUPPORT: 481
  • NEUTRAL: 23
  • AGAINST: 10
Q: Should the current “Family Week” dead period be extended? 

 

  • YES: 225
  • NO: 289
Q: If you favor an extended dead period, when would you prefer it take place? 

 

  • LATE JULY, EXTENDING THE CURRENT “FAMILY WEEK”: 166
  • WINTER BREAK, WHICH CURRENTLY PERMITS PRACTICE: 61
  • MID MARCH, AROUND SPRING BREAK: 73
OUT-OF-STATE COMPETITION

 

Q: Do you favor the current IHSAA policy which limits member schools to travel only to states contiguous to Iowa plus Kansas for interstate competition?

 

  • YES: 395
  • NO: 109
Q: Do you favor the current IHSAA policy which limits interstate competition in Iowa to schools from contiguous states plus Kansas?

 

  • YES: 382
  • NO: 119

QUESTIONS: SPORTS

WRESTLING

 

Q: How many days would you prefer the IHSAA Traditional Wrestling Tournament schedule be? 

Background: The schedule moved from three to four days in 2023 following an increase in qualifying wrestlers and the change in Dual Team Tournament date.

 

  • THREE DAYS (REVERTING TO 16 QUALIFIERS PER WEIGHT CLASS): 278
  • FOUR DAYS (MAINTAINING 24 QUALIFIERS PER WEIGHT CLASS): 199
FOOTBALL

 

Q: Would you support participating schools being responsible for scheduling their own regular season varsity football games? Football is currently the only sport in which regular season scheduling is completed by the IHSAA.

Background: The IHSAA began the “district format” in 1992 and the scheduling of other games in 2010.

 

  • YES: 125
  • NO: 364
Q: Would you support participating schools scheduling their own regular season varsity football games if all participating schools were placed in the postseason? Football is the only team sport in which not all teams may participate in postseason play.

 

  • YES: 162
  • NO: 324
BASEBALL

 

Q: When is the best placement for the IHSAA baseball season? Baseball’s current regular season and postseason runs nine weeks (May 15-July 21, 2023).

Background: Iowa is the only state in the nation to play baseball and softball in the summer.

 

  • MID MARCH THROUGH LATE MAY: 30
  • LATE MARCH THROUGH EARLY JUNE: 80
  • MID APRIL THROUGH LATE JUNE: 154
  • MID MAY THROUGH LATE JULY: 229
Q: How many regular season contests should baseball be permitted?

Background: Baseball has the most permitted contests of any IHSAA sport at 40, with basketball next at 21.

 

  • 25 GAMES: 101
  • 30 GAMES: 216
  • 35 GAMES: 92
  • 40 GAMES: 83
SPRING SPORTS

 

Q: If one IHSAA spring sport were to move to the fall sport season, which change would you support most?

Background: Spring sport postseason scheduling has been one of the most frequent concerns from member schools over the last several years.

 

  • GOLF: 258
  • SOCCER: 100
  • TENNIS: 133
UNIFIED SPORTS

 

Q: Does your school currently offer Unified Activities programs, either hosting or through another organization?

Background: Special Olympics format for Unified Sports joins people with and without intellectual disabilities on the same team.

 

  • YES: 122
  • NO: 364
JUNIOR HIGH

 

Q: Do you favor recommendations to allow sixth graders to participate in junior high activities?

Background: Current IHSAA policy only permits seventh and eighth grade students to practice and participate in contests.

 

  • YES: 179
  • NO: 319
Q: Does your school currently offer a split season for junior high winter sports?

 

  • YES: 394
  • NO: 98
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