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DCIAA Announces New Stars and Stripes Division Rules

Friday, August 25, 2023

Updated Regulations Modify How DCPS Varsity Football Teams Move Between Divisions for the 2023 Season 

(WASHINGTON, DC) – Today, the District of Columbia Interscholastic Athletic Association (DCIAA) announced new rules to determine how District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) Varsity Football programs are placed into the district’s “Stars” and “Stripes” divisions. The new rules go into effect as the high school football season kicks off at 6 p.m. Friday, August 25, 2023, with the first DCPS matchup of the season—Ron Brown College Preparatory School Monarchs vs. Eastern High School Ramblers at Eastern. 

“For our more than 7,000 student athletes across the district, sports are a hallmark of the DCPS experience, promoting students’ character, sense of belonging, and overall well-being,” said DCPS Chancellor Lewis D. Ferebee. “I am proud of our school football communities for their advocacy for updated regulations. This expansion provides even more opportunity for all of us to embrace school spirit as we look forward to an excellent season of fall athletics.” 

For the past 10 years, the Stars and Stripes system ensured that teams competed for state championships against similarly performing opponents, helping to strengthen smaller football programs. With 13 teams across DCPS, each division is permitted a maximum of seven teams. New rules, which were shaped by input from coaches, athletic directors, and players, will simplify movement between the divisions and recognize teams’ wins against division opponents over a longer period of time. 

According to the new rules, if a Stripes team wins two Gravy Bowl Championships in a three-year span, they will move to the Stars Division. Before, teams were required to win two consecutive Gravy Bowl Championships.  

Due to the seven-team maximum, there are also updated rules that outline how teams transition from the Stars Division to the Stripes division based on winning percentages. That guidance can be found here, along with more information on the new division rules.  

“These modifications reflect our commitment to being responsive to feedback and ensuring that our schools have the opportunity to grow their football programs.” said DCPS Director of Athletics Michael Bryant.