The IHSAA Success Factor Needs to Change

Sports Director Justin Prince says it's time to get rid of the Success Factor after a confusing spring.

Posted: Jul 30, 2019 12:24 AM
Updated: Aug 2, 2019 11:51 AM

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT) - Sports Director Justin Prince says it's time to get rid of the Success Factor after a confusing spring.

When I moved to Fort Wayne April 17, 2017, just over two years ago, I had no idea what the "Success Factor" was the IHSAA implements to try and create a competitive balance in its sports.

Fast forward two years, and I have a better understanding for it, but my disdain for said rule is it an all time high.

As a refresher for everyone, in a two year cycle, if a team achieves six points (state titles are worth four, semistate titles are worth three, regional titles are worth two, and sectional titles are worth one), said team will move up a competitive class, unless already in the state's largest class.

As of Spring 2019, to stay there, a team needs only to achieve two points, whereas previously a team needed to achieve three.

It's a common saying, but it goes, "to be the best, you have to beat the best." Why should that be any different in Indiana? Why should teams, who reach the peak of their competitive field, have to move up a class after succeeding at the level they are at?
To me, it's the IHSAA saying this "congratulations on winning, now it's time to let someone else have their turn." It's like when you were a kid, and your sibling wanted to play with the toy you had been, so your parents told you to let them play with it.

To me, this is saying the IHSAA wants to make sure no one feels hurt or left out, like it's their version of a participation trophy.

Former NFL coach Herm Edwards said it best, "You play to win the game!"

You don't play to hope the team doesn't show up, or hope they get moved so you don't even have to see them.

"To be the best, you have to beat the best."

It takes away from the competition, and on top of that it hurts more teams than it does help them.

For example, take Central Noble girls basketball. The Cougars just finished a three year stretch, where they went 77-9, appearing in two semistates and winning a 2A state title behind stellar careers from Sydney Freeman and Meleah Leatherman.

Both of them were seniors this past year, and now, Central Noble gets to move up to 3A, without the two players who carried them there, because of the success factor.

The worst part of it all remains that it's been a dumpster fire this spring with the IHSAA making changes to the rule (see above), that have jerked around teams like Snider, Warsaw, Noblesville and Bishop Luers.

The IHSAA announced earlier this spring Snider would move to 5A after the completion of their Success Factor time in 6A, only to recant that statement and basically say, "we messed up," two months later, and move the Panthers back to 6A due to their changes in the rule.


Luers is another case in and of itself.

The Knights had been playing in Class 3A due to enrollment size at the school for the past six seasons. When enrollment declined past the point of 3A, the Knights moved back to 2A - or so they thought.

The IHSAA told Luers due to their success at the 3A level, where they won four sectional titles, and two regional titles, they would have to stay there.

The Knights appealed and eventually won, as announced on Monday, but it's sad that the IHSAA cannot even figure out their own rules, or figure how to enforce them at this point.

To me, it screams that what they are implementing is a broken system. Except, this broken system doesn't need to be fixed. It just needs to go away.

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