About the IHSA

The purpose of the Illinois High School Association is to provide leadership for the development, supervision and promotion of good sportsmanship in interscholastic competition and other activities in which its member schools choose to engage. Participation in such interscholastic activities offers eligible students experiences in an educational setting which provide enrichment to the educational experience.

Our Mission Statement

The IHSA governs the equitable participation in interscholastic athletics and activities that enrich the educational experience.

 


History

Founded in 1900, the Illinois High School Association is a not-profit organization with over 780 member high schools in Illinois. The IHSA is headquartered in Bloomington, Illinois, and is not funded by tax dollars or administered by the government in the state of Illinois.

People

The principals who make up the IHSA Board of Directors volunteer their time and energy to serve the IHSA and its member schools. Each Board member represents a geographic division in the state after being nominated and then elected in a vote by other principals in that division.
 
The IHSA staff administers the state tournaments in all IHSA sanctioned activities and sports, including the State Series sites, assigning of officials and on-site state final management. The staff is responsible for the education and enforcement of the by-laws that its member schools vote into existence.

Effecting Change

The rules that govern the setup and scheduling of each state tournament are known as the Terms & Conditions. Every sport and activity has a geographically diverse Advisory Committee that can offer recommendations to change the Terms & Conditions. A committee of Athletic Directors provides feedback on each recommendation to give the Board of Directors feedback from several groups before they cast the deciding vote.
 
Any member school can propose a new by-law or a change to an existing by-law. Those proposals are reviewed by the IHSA Legislative Commission, a 35-person group of Principals and Athletic Directors from around the state. The proposed changes are then reviewed for all IHSA member schools at mandatory Town Hall Meetings held at 28 different high schools throughout the state each November. The Legislative Commissioners then vote on whether each proposal should appear on an all-school ballot based on the feedback of the member schools that attend their Town Hall Meetings. The proposals that are moved forward by the Legislative Commission are voted on by every member school and must have a simple majority to become a by-law.
 

IHSA Services

Boys Athletics

The IHSA offers 14 statewide championship series for boys. The series (and the year the first state champion was crowned) are: Baseball (1940), Basketball (1908), Bowling (2003), Cross Country (1946), Football (1974), Golf (1916), Gymnastics (1952), Soccer (1972), Swimming & Diving (1932), Tennis (1912), Track & Field (1893), Volleyball (1992), Water Polo (2002), and Wrestling (1937).

The series are conducted during the school year as follows: Fall — Golf, Soccer, Cross Country, and Football; Winter — Swimming & Diving, Wrestling, and Basketball, and Bowling; Spring — Tennis, Track and Field, Gymnastics, Volleyball, Water Polo, and Baseball.

Girls may compete on boys teams under certain circumstances. Wrestling and football are the boys sports with the most female participants.

Girls Athletics

The IHSA offers 14 statewide championship series for girls. The series (and the year in first state championship was crowned) are: Badminton (1977), Basketball (1977), Bowling (1973), Competitive Cheerleading (2006), Cross Country (1979), Gymnastics (1977), Soccer (1988), Softball (1976), Swimming & Diving (1975), Tennis (1972), Track & Field (1973), Volleyball (1975) and Water Polo (2002).

The series are conducted during the school year as follows: Fall — Golf, Tennis, Cross Country, Swimming & Diving, and Volleyball; Winter — Bowling, Competitive Cheerleading, Gymnastics, and Basketball; Spring — Track & Field, Badminton, Soccer, Water Polo, and Softball.

Boys may not compete on girls teams, but Competitive Cheerleading has a coed division in which males may participate.

Non-Athletic Activities

It offers state championships in Music (in separate Solo & Ensemble and Organization Contests), Debate, Drama & Group Interpretation, Speech Individual Events, Chess, Scholastic Bowl, Journalism, and Bass Fishing.

Athletic Officials

Through its Officials Department, the IHSA provides the member schools with a listing of more than 14,000 active athletic officials in Baseball, Basketball, Competitive Cheerleading, Football, Boys Gymnastics, Girls Gymnastics, Boys Lacrosse, Girls Lacrosse, Soccer, Softball, Swimming & Diving, Track & Field, Volleyball, Water Polo, and Wrestling. Each major official who receives reimbursement for officiating a contest between member schools must be registered with the IHSA. Athletic officials are required to attend rules meetings each year to learn the rules, officiating techniques and skills necessary to provide for the proper conduct of interscholastic competition between school squads. Many also attend clinics during the year. In addition, the IHSA enrolls member officials in NFIOA.

IHSA.org

The official Web Site contains "everything you'd ever want to know about the IHSA" and then some.  It contains pages for every IHSA athletic and non-athletic activity, real time scoring for most state final tournaments, the Officials Department, and many other pages.  The IHSA Constitution, By-laws and Board Policies are also on the Web site.

Opened to the public in January, 1996, IHSA.org is the association's primary mode of communication with its member schools and licensed officials, as well as media, parents, students, and fans. In a typical school year IHSA.org receives more than 35 million page views from about two million unique visitors.

All services are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Student/School Welfare

IHSA provides catastrophic injury insurance protection for students involved in each state tournament series. 

Reimbursement Plan 

Each member school which qualifies to participate in the sectional level of competition and beyond in the team sports is reimbursed for mileage to and from the events, and those teams which qualify for the state finals also are reimbursed an additional fixed sum. Every team advancing to the state final in Baseball, Basketball, Football, Soccer, Softball, Volleyball and Wrestling receives a reimbursement check.

If revenue exceeds funds needed to meet the requirements of the annual budget, it has been returned to the member schools as either a membership dividend, a bonus for being a host of a level of competition in any of the 48 different state tournament series, or as reimbursement for individuals qualifying for the state final(s) in the sports other than those designated for team reimbursement. There are nearly 1,200 different local tournaments and/or meets hosted by member schools in the 46 state series sponsored by the IHSA each school year.

Administration

A full-time staff of 25, which is housed in the Association's office in Bloomington, is charged with the responsibility to administer the activities according to the IHSA purpose and within the framework of the Constitution and By-laws.

Communication

The IHSA maintains a clear channel of communication between member schools and persons associated with member schools through numerous direct mailings, other publications, pamphlets, and information posted on the IHSA's Web Site.

State Final Television Coverage

The eight Boys Football championship games and the complete Boys and Girls Basketball state final tournaments are broadcast on the IHSA Television Network, a network of basic cable stations throughout Illinois which cover IHSA programming.  Several other state championships are streamed directly over the Internet on IHSA.TV.

Add A. Tude

The nation's first sportsmanship mascot first appeared at the inaugural Sportsmanship Summit on September 29, 1997.  Now Add A. Tude™ appears at IHSA state final tournaments and visits member school through a regular year-long booking program.  Add A. Tude™ plays a key role in sportsmanship education and promotion campaigns conducted by IHSA in conjunction with the Illinois Elementary School Association (IESA).