IHSA football district proposal fails

The 2023 legislative process brought out the highest voting total in over a decade, as 89% of the membership participated in the vote. (WJBC file photo)

By WJBC Staff

BLOOMINGTON – Illinois High School Association (IHSA) member schools approved 12 of 14 amendment proposals that appeared on the all-school ballot, but a proposal that would have significantly changed football scheduling in the state failed to pass.

The proposal would have established eight football districts in each class with eight schools in each district with the Top 4 schools in each district qualifying for the IHSA playoffs.

“The IHSA Board of Directors has already had discussions about the potential of forming a Football Ad Hoc Committee in 2024 in the event that this district proposal failed to pass,” said IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson in a news release. “They want to be proactive in trying to address the issues that are at the root of different football proposals seemingly being brought forth each year. They recognize the myriad issues in IHSA football are unique and can be based on geography, school size, conference affiliation, and the traditional success of a program, which is why no recent proposals have garnered enough support to pass. There is likely no singular answer to these issues, but the Board wants to explore the idea that a large and diverse group from around the state might be able to find some solutions that the high school football community in the state would support.”

The only other proposal that did not pass sought to decrease the number of allowable summer contact days between coaches and student-athletes.

The 2023 legislative process brought out the highest voting total in over a decade, as 89% of the membership participated in the vote. Below is a summary of the proposals and the vote totals.

Proposal 4 (Passes 578-124-24) Allows coaches to conduct out of season strength and conditioning workouts with limits of no more than 4 days per week and no more than 90 minutes per session outside the season.  No coaching of the skills of a sport during any session.

Proposal 5 (Passes 449-233-45): Allows students to meet the residence by-law when their parent/guardian is a full-time staff member at a public school whose attendance boundary they do not reside in if the district has a Board Policy permitting students of employees to attend tuition free.

Proposal 9 (Passes 547-136-43): Modifies the All-Star games participation limit to include all sports as opposed to just basketball, football, soccer and volleyball.

Proposal 11 (Fails 302-407-18): Modifies the number of summer contact days restriction from 25 to 18 days.

Proposal 12 (Passes 566-132-23):  Allows coaches to conduct strength and conditioning workouts with limits of no more than 4 days per week and no more than 90 minutes per session during the summer contact days. Conditioning training does not count against the summer contact day count. No coaching of the skills of a sport during any session in order for the session not to count as a summer contact day.

Proposal 14 (Passes 422-136-166): Restricts a Pre-Contest Physical Examination from determining a student’s eligibility for a contest other than in sports that require weigh-ins or sports-specific nail or skin checks.

Proposal 15 (Passes 564-36-118): Modifies the participation under an assumed name to match the language passed two years ago in By-law 3.090.

Proposal 16 (Passes 540-126-54): Eliminates the IHSA Tournament Limitations By-law (5.004).

Proposal 17 (Passes 410-232-85): Creates the opportunity for football teams to conduct a pre-season scrimmage with another school. Specific scrimmage limitations include the following: Use of IHSA Officials, 4 separate 12 play segments, no special teams, 48 total play limits per player, no live contact or thud in practice the day before or after the scrimmage. Scrimmage to be held on Friday or Saturday of IHSA Week 7. Players are eligible to participate in the scrimmage after participating in 8 different days of practice.

Proposal 18 (Fails 272-379-76): Establishes districts in the sport of football to be determined by the IHSA using geography and classification. Eight districts in each class with eight schools in each district. District games in weeks 3 – 9 of the regular season.  Top 4 schools in each district qualify for the IHSA Play-offs. Seeding procedures will be similar to current seeding procedures with teams from the same district not to play in the first round.

Proposal 19 (Passes 352-48-321): Eliminates the Boys Gymnastics season and contest limitation by-law.

Proposal 20 (Passes 541-134-48): Eliminate the match limit per tournament language in girls and boys volleyball.

Proposal 22 (Passes 594-18-111): Increase the number of girls’ wrestling team contests from 18 to 25.

Proposal 23 (Passes 464-82-181): Establishes a Girls Flag Football fall season limitation (Monday of Wk. 6 to Saturday of Wk. 21), a pre-season practice requirement of 9 practices before a contest and a regular season contests limitation of 25 games exclusive of the IHSA State Series.

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