The KHSAA Commonwealth Gridiron Bowl is a series of football games, typically held on the first weekend of December, that determine the high school champions of the U.S. state of Kentucky. The tournaments that lead to the championship games, as well as regular-season competition, are governed by the Kentucky High School Athletic Association (KHSAA).
The KHSAA began conducting state football championships in 1959. Throughout its history, the competition has been divided into classes based on enrollment (though with historic exceptions noted below). The history of classifications is as follows:
- 1959–1974: Three-class system. All schools in Jefferson County, which includes (and is now consolidated with) the state's largest city of Louisville, were placed in Class 3A regardless of enrollment. Remaining schools were placed in Class 2A or A based on enrollment.
- 1975–1986: Quasi-four-class system. Initially, all high schools in Jefferson County were placed in Class 4A regardless of enrollment, though by the end of this era smaller schools began to be placed in their appropriate enrollment classes. In this era, there were two separate 4A champions—a "State 4A" winner from outside Jefferson County and a "Jefferson County 4A" champion—that would meet for an overall 4A title.
- 1987–2006: True four-class system, with all Jefferson County schools classified according to their enrollment.
- 2007–present: Six-class system, again based on enrollment, but with a slight change in calculation of enrollment. Historically, schools were classified based on total enrollment in grades 9 to 12, with all-boys schools treated as having twice their actual enrollment. With the expansion to six classes, the KHSAA changed the basis for classification to enrollment of boys only in the same grades.
Traditionally, the championship games were held in Louisville, first at Cardinal Stadium and later at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium. Starting in 2009, the games moved to Houchens Industries – L. T. Smith Stadium on the campus of Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green. With the expansion to six classes, the Gridiron Bowl is now a two-day affair, with three championship games on Friday and three on Saturday.
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