By Anthony Jones
December has been a month full of Illinois High School Association news.
The organization announced last week that the football state championships will return to Illinois State University in Bloomington-Normal. This past season, all eight football state championships were played in Champaign.
Illinois State was the original site of the IHSA’s football title games in 1974 and held that responsibility through 1998.
“We appreciate all of the hosting bids that we received for the IHSA Football State Finals,” said IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson in the IHSA’s release. “Seeing the passion that these university communities have for hosting the State Finals and the amazing stadiums that each campus offers didn’t make for an easy decision. Ultimately, the first-class facilities, amazing support from Illinois State University and the Bloomington-Normal communities, and the central location proved to be the biggest factors in returning to ISU for the next five years.”
Hancock Stadium will play host to the title games from 2023-2027.
In the same statement, the IHSA also announced that provisional officiating licenses will now be available to 15 and 16 years old. These licenses will allow them to officiate contests through the freshman level and will be provided at a reduced rate.
IHSA Associate Executive Director Kurt Gibson said in the announcement, “The shortage of officials, both nationally and here in Illinois, has been well-chronicled. We have seen an uptick in registered officials so far in 2022-23 and hope this new Provisional License helps create even more momentum.”
Early this month, the IHSA also announced that eight of their member proposals passed through the Legislative Commission and will now be open to a member school vote. The voting period opened on Dec. 5 and will close on Dec. 18.
Schools may vote in favor, against, or no opinion on each proposal. A simple majority of yes or no votes cast will determine whether each proposal passes.
Three of the eight proposals deal with eligibility. Measures involving NIL, state memento price limits, the IHSA Legislative Commission, and summer eleven on eleven practices are also on the ballot.
Several proposals were discarded by the commission, most notably football districts. If the proposal passed, the IHSA would have taken control of football schedules of every school in the state.