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Illinois HS football headed for vote on district play

by Mark Jurgena

The proposal is back.

Will it pass? 

If it passes will it be like last time and be rejected by a counter-proposal?

Let’s briefly go back into history.

In December of 2018, the state announced that the football playoffs would move to a district format. There would still be eight classes of football and each class would have eight districts of eight teams each.

IHSA member schools had voted 324-307 in favor of district play with 67 schools voting “no opinion”.

One year later, a counter-proposal was voted on and this one repealed the district plan. That 2019 vote was 374-241 against the districts with 87 schools voting “no opinion”. That result kept the IHSA playoff format how it is now.

New Proposal

Proposal 18 revisits the idea of instituting district play into the IHSA.

Mahomet-Seymour’s Matt Hensley put forth the plan as an alternative to the current format which affects the stability of many conferences.

Hensley noted there have been 20-plus conferences that have changed in the past 15 years while four completely new ones have come into being in that time period.

The proposal is mostly like the previous attempt. 

It still calls for eight classes of football that have eight districts with eight teams each.

The top four teams in each district will qualify for the playoffs.

Teams would be classified by their enrollment and their geography. For private schools, the success factor and the multiplier would still apply.

District play would occur from weeks 3-9 with the opening two weeks of the season available to schedule non-district opponents.

Other Proposals

The Legislative Board of the IHSA announced Monday that a total of 14 proposals would go to the schools for a vote in December.

Among those possible changes is a preseason scrimmage for football. It would be one week earlier (the Friday of the Comets ‘soap game’ scrimmage) should it pass. There would be limitations on plays should that come about.

There are other proposals on a reduction in the number of summer contact days and limiting the number of days per week teams can do strength and conditioning.

Voting period

IHSA member schools will be voting on those proposals from Dec. 4-18 with results announced on Dec. 19. 

Since there is no alternate date on the football district proposal, it would go into effect July 1, 2024 if it passes.

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