Irish Remain in Class 5A for 2019, 2020 Football Tournaments
The Executive Committee of the Indiana High School Athletic Association’s Board of Directors has approved changes to the football sectional assignments for the 2019 and 2020 state tournaments, directly affecting Indianapolis Cathedral. The Fighting Irish will compete in Class 5A for the next two seasons, rather than returning to Class 4A where the IHSAA originally assigned the school based on its enrollment.
In late April, the IHSAA modified the Tournament Success Factor rule, lowering the number of points needed by a school already playing in a higher classification to continue playing in that class for another two years. Revised Rule 2-5 states that a school earning two points in the previous two tournaments will remain in the higher class for two more years. Previously, a school must have earned three points to continue in the class.
Schools earn points each time they advance beyond the sectional round of the tournament. Sectional, regional, semi-state, and state championships are each worth one point. Cathedral won 5-A sectional and regional titles in 2017, but did not advance past the sectional in 2018, giving the Irish two points for the two-year classification period, returning the school to Class 4-A prior to the rule change.
The rule revision means Cathedral will play in a higher class for at least another two years. As a result, the Irish will begin the 2019 football tournament playing in Class 5A Sectional 11 with 2018 State Runner-Up Decatur Central, Plainfield, Terre Haute North, and Terre Haute South. Cathedral defeated Plainfield, 51-14, in the sectional opening round last season, but then lost to Decatur Central, 21-14, in the sectional championship game two weeks later.
Cathedral last played in its 4A enrollment class in 2012. If a school earns six or more points during the two-year classification period, the school must compete in a higher class for the next two tournaments. The Fighting Irish won state titles in 2011 and 2012, which earned eight points under the, then new, Tournament Success Factor, forcing a move to Class 5A. State titles in 2013 and 2014 earned Cathedral eight more points resulting in a move to Class 6A. The Irish earned two points with sectional titles in 2015 and 2016.
However, the IHSAA amended Rule 2-5 in 2016, reducing the number of points needed to remain in a higher class from four to three. It also altered the result of not gaining the minimum points to stay in a higher class from returning to the class of the school’s enrollment to instead moving to the next lower class. With that change, Cathedral moved down one class to 5A instead of returning to 4A in 2017.
In the first six years of the state football tournament, since the implementation of the success factor, 13 schools have played in a higher class. Cathedral and New Palestine are the only two schools to have played in a higher class for more than one two-year classification period. Cathedral is the only school to compete in a higher class for all six tournaments.