On April 13, 2015 the Honorable Mary Mikva of the Circuit Court of Cook County ruled in favor of the Illinois High School Association (IHSA) in granting a motion to dismiss a suit alleging that the IHSA’s records were subject to requests under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The court also dismissed claims requesting that a member school obtain and turnover records from the IHSA having nothing to do with that school. FOIA requires that governmental entities make their records public. As a private, voluntary not-for-profit association, the IHSA argued, and the court agreed, that IHSA is not a “public body” subject to the act.
IHSA Executive Director Marty Hickman noted that the IHSA will continue to go above and beyond its legal responsibilities when it comes to financial transparency. In addition to its legal obligations, the IHSA will also extend its practice of posting its independent audit and Annual Report on its website.
“The law was on our side in this situation,” said IHSA Executive Director Marty Hickman. “Our stance all along is that we have and will continue to follow the laws that are in place to govern 501(c)(3) organizations like the IHSA in Illinois.”
The court noted that the organization and supervision of interscholastic athletics and activities are not functions exclusively performed by the government, observing that education itself is frequently provided by purely private entities. Judge Mikva also noted that many organizations, including an association of judges, are comprised of members who are all public employees, but the organizations themselves are undoubtedly private. She ruled that the IHSA is no different.