The Illinois High School Association (IHSA) Board of Directors approved a recommendation to select The National Center for Drug Free Sport to serve as the IHSA’s drug testing vendor for its Performance-Enhancing Drug Testing program at its regularly scheduled meeting on Monday, February 8, 2010.
The IHSA sent out a Request For Proposals to drug testing vendors nationwide earlier this year and last week a committee that included IHSA staff members and a representative from the state’s Department of Public Health reviewed the submissions. The committee unanimously recommended The National Center for Drug Free Sport, whose headquarters are located in Kansas City, Missouri, to the IHSA Board. The National Center for Drug Free Sport conducted the IHSA’s testing during the 2008-09 school term, as well as during the fall of 2009.
“I think Drug Free Sport’s previous relationship with the IHSA had the chance to both help and hinder them throughout this process,” said IHSA Assistant Executive Director Kurt Gibson. “In the end, their proposal graded out the highest by each of our committee members, so it was an easy decision for us to continue our relationship with them.”
The new contract will encompass over 2,000 tests during the remainder of the 2009-10 school term and the entire 2010-11 school term.
The IHSA became the fourth high school state association in the country to begin testing for performance-enhancing drugs during the 2008-09 school year, when the Association privately contracted with Drug Free Sport to conduct testing of student-athletes at member schools during State Series events. In August of 2009, the Governor of Illinois signed House Bill 272 into law, which provides new mandated guidelines for the IHSA’s testing. Among the significant changes of HB 272 are a requirement to test 1,000 student-athletes per school year, for approximately 25 percent of the IHSA’s member schools to be included among the minimum 1,000 tests, allowing the testing to occur year-round during the school year and for a coaches education program to be developed.
“There are still hurdles to be cleared in terms of implementing the program under the new state guidelines, especially financially, but securing a reputable vendor was an important first step,” added Gibson.
With specifics of the new state testing yet to be solidified, the IHSA continued its own testing program in the fall of 2009 (results below, Discussion Item #2) and hopes to begin the state testing this winter. The coaches education program was put into place in early February and requires every coach from each IHSA member school to go online and pass a required assessment.
Other Action Items
- The Board approved a recommendation to extend the Competitive Cheerleading State Final contract at U.S. Cellular Coliseum in Bloomington through 2014-15. The current contract expired after the 2010 state final.
“U.S. Cellular Coliseum has been an ideal fit for the IHSA Cheerleading State Finals and we are excited to continue that relationship for five more years,” said IHSA Assistant Executive Director Susie Knoblauch. “The venue really contributes to the positive overall experience for the competing schools and the staff there is second to none. All of that coupled with the support we receive from U.S. Cellular Coliseum, the local community, the Bloomington-Normal Area Convention & Visitors Bureau and the Bloomington-Normal Sports Commission made this an easy decision.”
- The Board approved a recommendation for the IHSA to develop a policy with parameters for determining if and how the IHSA will support charitable causes in sports and activities.
- The Board approved a recommendation to implement a $10 processing fee for any officials who do not process their registration, renewal, etc. online.
- The Board approved a recommendation to allow the Orion’s girls basketball team an exception to By-law 5.183. A violation of school athletic policy has left the varsity team with four players. The school would like to participate in the IHSA state series by adding freshmen and junior varsity players to its varsity roster. The freshmen and sophomores have already played in four tournaments this year, which would not make them eligible to participate in the State Series without the exception.
Advisory Committee Recommendations
The Board approved the following Advisory Committee recommendations:
- Playoff football tape exchange now must occur by 6 p.m. on the Sunday following the game. Previously, the exchange had to occur by 6 p.m. on Monday.
Boys & Girls Golf
- The state series assignments will now begin with schools being assigned to one of 16 Regional Tournaments that feed into four Sectional Tournaments.
- Members of the first, second and third-place teams will advance from Regionals to Sectionals. In addition, the 10 best scoring individuals will advance from Regionals to Sectionals.
- Members of the first, second and third-place teams will advance from Sectionals to the State Finals. In addition, the 10 best scoring individuals will advance from Sectionals to the State Finals.
- Ties for the last individual qualifying spot in Regional to Sectional qualification and Sectional to State Final qualification will be decided by a playoff at the course.
- When two or more players become involved in a controversy, the hole may be played under protest. The protest shall be reported to the rules committee, who will announce a decision and post scores. The protest is final after scores are posted and no more protests
“These new changes (1-4) will bring the number of participants up from roughly 100 golfers to 112 golfers at the Sectional and State Final Tournaments,” said IHSA Assistant Executive Director Sue Hinrichsen. “I don’t know if these numbers would have been manageable a few years ago, if not for some compromises by our coaches on the rules for pace of play. This is a positive change that ultimately gives more student-athletes the chance to participate at the Sectional and State Final levels.”
Boys & Girls Tennis
- When the tournament is moved indoors, “No-Add” scoring shall be used except for quarterfinal, semifinal, and final round matches, which will use regular scoring.
- The 15 players listed on a team’s roster will be eligible to compete in a match, allowing teams to change rosters between matches.
- ATC will be added to the list of approved individuals who are exempt from taking the first aid portion of the ASEP Training.
Student Advisory Committee
- The Student Advisory Committee will be provided an IHSA email address, so other students can reach out to them.
- The Student Advisory Committee will be provided a link on the IHSA homepage to a website where they can share information.
- The Student Advisory Committee will create video and audio messages promoting the SAC, sportsmanship and the IHSA to be played at IHSA events.
At each meeting of the Board of Directors, there are certain items the Board discusses, but upon which no action is taken. The following is a report of those items from the February 8, 2010, agenda:
- The Board heard a report on the attendees of two make-up Town Meetings/Principals Rules Meetings that were held at the IHSA office in January for schools who had not attended the mandatory meetings during November. Evansville (Christ Our Savior) and Skokie (Yeshiva) did not attend meetings and are suspended until January of 2011.
- IHSA Assistant Executive Director Kurt Gibson updated the Board on the results of the IHSA’s Performance Enhancing Drug Testing program during the fall of 2010. The results were as follows: The IHSA conducted 141 tests during the fall sports seasons, which included girls swimming & diving, boys soccer and football. Zero student-athletes tested positive. Of the 141 student-athletes tested, 117 student-athletes were tested for anabolic steroids and 24 student-athletes were tested for stimulants.
- IHSA Assistant Executive Director Sue Hinrichsen was recognized for the recent announcement that she will be one of 12 national recipients of the prestigious NFHS Citation award, which will be awarded to her at the NFHS Summer Meeting in San Diego, California in July.
- IHSA Assistant Executive Director Dave Gannaway updated the Board on the IHSA Wheelchair Basketball and Bass Fishing tournaments. Seven teams will participate in the wheelchair tournament at the March Madness Experience n the Peoria Civic Center on March 12 and 13. Bass Fishing anticipates between 30 and 40 more schools participating in the State Series this year, which will result in one Sectional being added.
- The Board recognized the following coaches who were named 2009 Coaches of the Year by the NFHS in their respective sports:
John Sallee, Boys Golf, Centralia
Greg Burks, Girls Basketball, Hinckley (H.-Big Rock)
Jon Jamison, Girls Cross Country, St. Joseph (S.J.-Ogden)
Robert Barber, Girls Swimming & Diving, Hinsdale (Central)
Dale Donner, Girls Track and Field, Manlius (Bureau Valley)
Ron Smith, Boys Baseball, Stanford (Olympia)
Bradley Hatfill, Boys Basketball, Lewistown
Darren Sunkett, Football, East St. Louis (Sr.)
Mary Beth Elsen, Boys Soccer, Winnebago
Ronald Towner, Boys Track and Field, Country Club Hills (Hillcrest)
Paige Stryczek, Girls Softball, Oak Forest
Edee Madsen, Girls Badminton, Deerfield
Hinsdale (Central) boys tennis coach Jay Kramer was named the 2009 Boys Tennis Sectional Coach of the Year by the NHFS.
- The Board recognized IHSA Assistant Executive Director Dave Gannaway, who has been announced as a part of the IADA Hall of Fame class that will be inducted this spring.