Bishop Luers football headed back to 3A after more IHSAA confusion

Will this ever end?

Just over one month after Outside the Huddle reported that Snider was staying in Class 6A due to an IHSAA rules change, Bishop Luers coach Kyle Lindsay has confirmed to OTH that the Knights will remain in Class 3A for the next two seasons.

Bishop Luers was set to drop to Class 2A after six years in 3A.

The confusion is multi-faceted. Not only are the Knights finding out barely a month before the season begins that they will be placed in a new (but familiar) class and sectional, they are remaining up in 3A due to Success Factor points, despite originally moving to 2A due to an enrollment drop.

The Knights’ three Success Factor points earned in the 2017 and 2018 seasons equate to three points (two sectional titles, one regional title), enough to keep the program in 3A if it had been bumped because of on-field success. But Bishop Luers was not in 3A because of Success Factor over the 2017-18 cycle, but rather enrollment.

“The IHSAA just botched everything with this,” Lindsay said. “When it came out that Snider was moved back to 6A, I told our coaches that I didn’t understand it.

“What bylaw is applied retroactively?”

In late April, the IHSAA board approved a series of rules changes for the 2019-20 athletic calendar. One of those involved football. In years past, a program that had been bumped up a class due to the Success Factor rule remained in that class if it earned three or more points over a two-year period. The new rule that was approved now has teams remaining up a class if they earn two or more points over a two-year cycle, this despite the sectional alignments having already been announced.

That is the rule that affected Snider and is now affecting Bishop Luers.

The IHSAA will once again have to redraw certain sectional alignments, now for the third time.

For Bishop Luers, the change is not a serious one, but more of an annoyance. For instance, Lindsay plans his team’s summer schedule – from scrimmages and 7v7s to clinics his coaches go to – based on regular-season and potential postseason opponents. On Thursday, the Knights will take on Norwell in a scrimmage at South Adams, two teams that could now meet in the playoffs. That matchup would not have happened if Bishop Luers had known sooner that a class change was coming.

“No coach should go into the summer not knowing what class or sectional you are in,” Lindsay said. “But ultimately, I have to remind myself that it is high school sports, things are supposed to be competitive and we can be competitive wherever we are at.”

Bishop Luers has won all 11 of its football state championships in Class 2A, most recently in 2012. The spin by Lindsay to his team is that it earned the bump to 3A based on its performance.

“We are the first Bishop Luers team to have to stay up a class due to performance,” said Lindsay, noting that the Knights stayed up in 3A due to enrollment after being bumped in 2013 for success. “Our student body was large enough that it kept us up in 3A for six years. That is something that isn’t talked about.”

Lindsay admits that his team was split emotionally when they found out the program was dropping to 2A. Some saw an easier road to a 12th state title, while others wanted the opportunity to be the first Bishop Luers squad to win a 3A crown.

Now, they will have that chance.

The Knights open up the season on Aug. 23 at Carroll.

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