By Anthony Jones
The Illinois High School Association recently released their member submitted amendment proposals, which will undergo a multi-stage approval process before being implemented.
Currently, the IHSA Legislative Committee is hosting town halls to gain feedback on all of the suggested changes. The committee will decide on Nov. 23 whether each proposal should be put to a vote before all IHSA member schools.
Voting for schools will last from Dec. 5-19 and any amendment receiving a majority of yes votes will be implemented.
Proposal 21 may be the most notable amendment this year, as it looks to revive districts for football with a name change to regionals. This time around, the proposal comes from Mahomet-Seymour and Mt. Zion representatives.
If the amendment passes, the IHSA would place all football teams into regions prior to the start of the season. These enrollment and location-based groupings would be used to set each team’s regular season schedule, taking all scheduling power away from member schools.
Under this system, the top four teams in each regional would qualify for the postseason. The IHSA would also be given the right to determine if each class should have a north and south divide or not.
A similar vote controversially passed in the winter of 2018 after it eked by with 324 votes for and 307 votes opposed. Dozens of non-football playing schools voted in the decision that was decided by just 17 votes.
The change was not set to go into effect until 2021, but the IHSA released preemptive projections in the summer of 2019.
Triad was grouped with Civic Memorial, Carbondale, Cahokia, Highland, Marion, Mascoutah and Waterloo in that release. Collinsville would have seen extreme travel in a group with Alton, Belleville West, Granite City, Moline, Normal Community, Pekin and Quincy.
In the winter of 2019, member schools voted to overturn the district system. The decision came by a much larger margin of 374-241 than when it was initially approved.
Proposals 11 and 12 also look to alter football rules. The former would allow teams to compete in eleven versus eleven scrimmages against other schools over the summer.
A successful passing of proposal 12 would allow schools to have a preseason scrimmage against another school. This would be held the weekend prior to week one of the season.
Eyes across the state will also be watching for the fates of proposals 14,15,16,17,18,19 and 20. All of these suggested amendments come from Altamont principal Peggy Bueker and share a common objective – to shorten athletic seasons.
Baseball, softball, boys basketball, girls basketball, girls soccer, boys soccer, girls volleyball and boys volleyball would have less weeks for their season, less games allowed in the season or both, if the amendments 14-20 all pass.
Another sport that could be altered by this year’s proposals is cheerleading, thanks to amendment 13. If the suggestion passes, the IHSA competitive cheerleading season will move into the fall season during the 2023-2024 school year.
Proposal 22 has been submitted in the past and would allow for a player to dispute an ejection for unsportsmanlike conduct if they have video evidence. If a player is ejected for flagrant or malicious contact under the current system, they are suspended for the following game without a chance to dispute.
Protest procedure would also be changed if proposal 23 passes. The bill would allow for coaches to protest an ejection for unsportsmanlike conduct.
Name, Image and Likeness, more often referred to as NIL, could be clarified for IHSA athletes with a successful passing of proposal 10.
Athletes would not be allowed to use any school logos, names or facilities in connection with NIL activities. Other restrictions include certain products athletes cannot associate and disallowing them from completing NIL activities during school hours, when they are competing, or being involved in athletic teams.
Other proposals under review deal with the IHSA legislative committee, private and non-boundaried schools enrollment, transfer rules, length of athletic eligibility, recruiting of athletes and guidelines for state rings or other mementos.
Full text and rationale on all amendments can be found online at ihsa.org.