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IHSA & Special Olympics To Conduct Unified Bass Fishing State Final Tournament

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The Illinois High School Association (IHSA) Board of Directors met for their regularly scheduled meeting at the IHSA office in Bloomington on February 18, 2015, where the Board announced that the IHSA and Special Olympics will team up to offer a unified IHSA Bass Fishing tournament this spring.

“We are appreciative of the Special Olympics partnership on this initiative,” said IHSA Executive Director Marty Hickman. “Since the implementation of the IHSA Athletes With Disabilities programs, we have continued to search for more ways to build on our events and offer additional participation opportunities. Special Olympics is already identifying schools with students who plan to participate, so we expect it will be a tremendous event.”

The unified bass fishing tournament will be held in conjunction with the 2015 IHSA Bass Fishing State Finals, which will take place on May 15-16 on Carlyle Lake in Carlyle. The competition will follow a similar format to the State Series, with eight unified boats from all over the state being represented at the state finals. State Final medallions will be awarded to the boats that finish in the Top 3.

““This concept came out of conversations with Dr. Hickman on how we could expand the Special Olympics’ Project Unify,” said Special Olympics Illinois CEO & President Dave Breen. “Project Unify is about building inclusive communities within schools that view individuals as people first. IHSA sports and activities, like bass fishing, provide the opportunity for the school community to get behind these students and build camaraderie. The whole program fits well with the students that the IHSA serves and that Special Olympics serves.”

The IHSA became the first state high school association in the country to offer a bass fishing state final tournament when the State Series debuted in 2009. The IHSA began its Athletes With Disabilities programs during the 2012-13 school and continues to offer opportunities in conjunction with the State Final tournaments in Boys & Girls Bowling, Boys & Girls Swimming & Boys & Girls Track & Field.


ACTION ITEMS
1. The Board approved a recommendation to extend the Girls Volleyball State Final hosting contract with Illinois State University and the Bloomington-Normal Area Convention & Visitors Bureau.
IHSA Executive Director Marty Hickman:
“This extension speaks to the commitment, professionalism and passion that Illinois State University, the Bloomington-Normal Area Convention & Visitors Bureau and the surrounding community put into hosting this event.”

2. The Board approved a recommendation to approve a Policy on “drones” for State Series events. The Policy reads as follows:
"The use of unmanned aerial vehicles (“UAV”), also known as drones, is prohibited for any purpose by any persons at IHSA tournament venues. Tournament management shall refuse admission or entry to anyone attempting to use a UAV; and if necessary, tournament management shall remove anyone attempting to use a UAV and/or confiscate the UAV until the event has been completed.

For purposes of this policy, a UAV is any aircraft without a human pilot aboard the device.

An exception to this policy may be made in specific cases for IHSA broadcast partners, provided the management of the tournament facility permits the presence of UAVs for broadcast purposes under the control of the IHSA."


IHSA Executive Director Marty Hickman:
“The use of drones has become more commonplace among both schools and media, so we felt that it was important to provide some clear guidance for their usage in IHSA State Series events. We will continue to have discussions at the Board and membership level on their usage at practices and during regular-season events, but at the moment, practices and regular-season protocol remains up to the discretion of each school.”

3. The Board approved the Board Meeting schedule for the 2015-15 school year:
Monday, August 24, 2015
Monday, Sept. 14, 2015
Wednesday, October 14, 2015
Monday, December 14, 2015
Monday, January 11, 2016
Wednesday, February 17, 2016
Saturday, March 19, 2016
Tuesday, April 19, 2016
Monday, June 13, 2016


ADVISORY COMMITTEE RECOMMENDATIONS
Minutes from all Advisory Committees can be viewed by clicking here.

1. The Board approved the consent items from the Advisory Committees in the following sports & activities & committees: Boys & Girls Cross Country, Boys & Girls Golf, Boys & Girls Tennis, Boys & Girls Tennis, Football, Sports Medicine, Sportsmanship, Student Advisory, Athletic Administrators.

Consent items are recommendations that received approval from the sport/activity advisory committee, the Athletic Administrators Advisory Committee and the IHSA staff. Consent items can be viewed by clicking here.

Some consent items of note include:

Boys & Girls Cross Country
1. Two officials will now be required for all Regional & Sectional meets.

Boys & Girls Golf
1. The Circle 10 rule may be invoked by a coach during Regional play only. If the Circle 10 rule is invoked, a player picks up their ball after 10 shots or more on any applicable hole. Once the Circle 10 is invoked by a player, that player’s score will not be used for advancing team scores, and that player is no longer eligible to advance in the state series as an individual. However, should the player’s team advance that player could continue in the state series but only have his/her score count towards the team’s score at the next level tournament(s).

Sports Medicine/Wrestling
1. All wrestlers are eligible for a final appeal weight certification to certify their weight after their first certification date on or before Friday of Week 24 on the IHSA Standardized calendar with approval of the IHSA administrator. A final appeal can only occur if the athlete wishing to appeal has not exceeded 1.5% weight loss per week each week from the date of the athlete’s first certification. This appeal would allow the wrestler to drop no more than one weight class from the original minimum result from the first test.


DISCUSSION ITEMS
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 18, 2015, agenda:

1. The Board heard a presentation from Chicago Christian Athletic Director Eric Brauer on moving from one class to two classes in boys’ and girls’ tennis. The Board asked the IHSA staff to prepare an official proposal on the two-class system to be presented to the Board this spring.

2. The Board heard a report from the Executive Director on the schools who failed to attend Town Meetings/Principals’ Rules Meeting for the past two years. The following schools are now placed on suspension: Chicago (Academy for the Arts) and Chicago (Young Women’s Leadership Charter).

3. The Board heard a report from IHSA Assistant Executive Director Matt Troha on the IHSA’s nominee for the NFHS Spirit of Sport Award, Austin Spencer & Jon Nelson from Tri-Valley, as well as the IHSA’s nominee for the NFHS Heart of the Arts Award, St. Rita’s Ethan Gray.

4. The Board heard a report from IHSA Assistant Executive Director Stacey Lambert on the 2014-15 IHSA All-State Academic Team presented by Caterpillar. Click here to see the All-State Team and Honorable Mention Team.

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