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IHSA Board Discusses Football Practice Limitations, Will Vote In June

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The Illinois High School Association (IHSA) Board of Directors met at its regularly scheduled meeting at the IHSA office in Bloomington on Tuesday, April 21, 2015, where the Board discussed a pair of joint recommendations from the IHSA Sports Medicine Advisory Committee and IHSA Football Advisory Committee.

The recommendations are related to Policy 13 - Football Policies and would potentially limit the number of hours and days each week that an IHSA member school football team would be allowed to have full live contact during full-pad practices, in addition to eliminating more than one practice with full live contact when two full-pad practices occur in a single day.

“These steps represent the next logical evolution in optimizing the safety of student-athletes in the game of football,” said IHSA Executive Director Marty Hickman. “The IHSA Sports Medicine Advisory Committee and Football Advisory Committee have worked together to formulate these limitations over the past year. We appreciate their efforts, as well as the guidance provided by the NFHS Concussion Summit Task Force.”

The committee’s first recommendation would go into effect on the Monday preceding the first allowable regular-season football game each August (Week 8 of IHSA standardized calendar). At that juncture, football teams would be limited to three days of live full contact per week, with a total of 90 minutes of live full contact to be used over the course of those three days.

“Both committees felt these limitations reflected realistic practice plans already being utilized by our coaches,” said IHSA Assistant Executive Director Craig Anderson. “It provides enough time to continue to teach players to tackle safely and properly, while also providing coaches with flexibility. For example, a coach could choose to have live full contact for 45 minutes each on Monday and Tuesday, or 30 minutes each on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. They simply have to restrict it to three days and 90 minutes total.”

The second potential change allows only one practice per day to contain full live full contact when practicing two times on a single day.

The IHSA Board discussed the recommendations on April 21 and plans to take a formal vote at the next meeting on June 15 after having the opportunity to receive feedback from their respective divisions. Any changes voted upon in June would be in place for the 2015 season.


ACTION ITEMS
1. The Board approved a recommendation to extend the IHSA Chess State Final hosting agreement with the Civic Center in Peoria.
IHSA Assistant Executive Director Scott Johnson:
“We’re very happy to bring the IHSA Team Chess tournament back to the Peoria Civic Center. Peoria has been a very welcoming host for the last 13 years as the tournament has grown into a nationally recognized event. We look forward to another five years of championship chess in the ballroom.”


2. The Board approved a recommendation to authorize the Executive Director to appoint member school Athletic Directors to serve as Tellers for IHSA Nominations, Elections and Proposals during the 2015-16 school year.

3. The Board approved a recommendation to reemploy the Associate Executive Director, Assistant Executive Directors, Executive Assistant and Coordinator of Special Programs.


APPEALS & ELIGIBILITY RULINGS
1. The Board modified the Executive Director’s ruling on a student from Champaign (Judah Christian). The student is immediately eligible.

2. The Board sustained the Executive Director’s ruling on the forfeiture of swim meets by Rock Island (H.S.) over the use of ineligible student-athletes. Representatives from Rock Island (H.S.) were on hand to appeal the ruling.


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 April 21, 2015, agenda:

1. The Board heard a report from the Executive Director, Assistant Executive Directors Craig Anderson, Scott Johnson, Stacey Lambert and Beth Sauser on the Ad Hoc Committee that met three times since September to review Policy 18 - Grouping & Seeding, as well as the football playoff structure. The group recommendations were presented to the Board for discussion, and formal action is expected at the June Board meeting.

2. The Board discussed a letter from Rich Martin, the President of the Illinois High School Lacrosse Association and the current status of IHSA lacrosse.

3. The Board discussed a report from Fenwick Principal and IHSA Board member Peter Groom on non-bracketed team sports and the multiplier.

4. The Board heard a report from Rock Falls High School Athletic Director Rich Montgomery on behalf of the Illinois Wrestling Coaches and Officials Association (IWCOA) regarding the recognition of an IWCOA team champion at the conclusion of the IHSA Individual Wrestling State Finals.

5. The Board discussed weekly player quarter limitations in football and has asked that the Sports Medicine Advisory Committee and Football Advisory Committee to continue to discuss this topic with stakeholders.
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