By Anthony Jones
The Illinois High School Association’s first ever state tournament was in 1908 when they held an eleven team boys basketball tournament. It has massively grown since then and even was the original “March Madness” of the basketball world. With it also being their best revenue creator, the boys basketball tournament being cut short due to COVID-19 last spring left a sizable hole in their pockets as well as their hearts.
In 2019, the IHSA’s audit shows that boys basketball earned them a whopping profit of $994,416. With the tournament not being finished this last season, the total was slashed down to $522,334. This was by far their biggest profit reduction among sports and activities.
Since the IHSA’s fiscal year begins on June 30, their most recent audit does not show the effects from pandemic related changes on this past fall or winter sports yet. But there are still several interesting aspects to analyze from the 2020 Spring season.
Other top revenue earners lost last spring were baseball, boys track and field, and girl soccer. In 2019, they totaled $211,605 in profit. Yet last year, they ran a deficit of $2,418 for those same three sports.
However, some sports and activities being cancelled were a major positive, financially speaking. In 2019, the IHSA lost $218,329 from the following: speech, scholastic bowl, music, journalism, and boys tennis. Last year, those losses were cut down to $118,424.
Overall,the IHSA went from having 21 revenue generating sports and activities down to 15. Despite this, their revenue from the 2020 fiscal year only dropped $144,350 from the year before it. One big reason that number was kept that low was that two fall sports, football and girls volleyball had a $312,227 revenue increase from the year prior. Neither of those sports have been able to play so far this year.
One move the IHSA has already made this school year to make back some of their losses from no state championships is charging schools entry fees to their regional and sectional events. But with none of their traditional fall sports that generate revenue being played yet and the delay of all winter sports, the IHSA certainly looks to be in for a tougher year than last year.