IHSA Basketball State Final Format to Change in 2020-21; Board Approves Winter Advisory Committee Recommendations

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IHSA Basketball State Final Format to Change in 2020-21; Board Approves Winter Advisory Committee Recommendations

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The IHSA Board of Directors met for their regularly scheduled meeting at the IHSA office in Bloomington on Monday, June 10, 2019, where the Board announced a new IHSA Boys & Girls Basketball State Final format.

The format change comes in conjunction with the Board voting to seek Request For Proposals to host each of the state finals tournaments from 2021 to 2023.

As a result of Monday’s changes, the IHSA Girls Basketball State Finals will be held on a single weekend in 2021, spanning Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. The Boys Basketball State Finals will have the same Thursday, Friday, and Saturday model and be held one week later.

The 2021 IHSA Girls Basketball State Finals will be held during Week 35 (March 4-6, 2020) of the IHSA Standardized calendar, which is currently the weekend of the Class 3A/4A Girls Basketball State Finals, while the boys tourney will take place during Week 36 (March 11-13), previously the week of the 1A/2A Boys State Finals. Each class will continue to have four state final qualifying teams, while the exact number of games each day and the game times will be finalized in the coming months.

“There has been a lot of support for this new tournament format over the past few months,” said IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson. “We tried to be as transparent as possible, communicating the idea and seeking feedback from basketball coaches and school administrators throughout our membership in a variety of ways. It was fairly unanimous that most felt like it was idea worth trying.”

Currently, the IHSA Basketball State Finals take place over four weekends, with the Class 1A and 2A Girls Tournament and the Class 3A and 4A Girls Tournament being held on consecutive weekends at Illinois State University’s Redbird Arena in Normal. The next two weekends then feature the boys tourney in the same format (1A/2A one weekend followed by 3A/4A the next) at Carver Arena inside the Peoria Civic Center. Illinois State University has hosted the Girls State Finals since 1992, while next March will mark the 25th year of America’s Original March Madness being played in Peoria.
“We obviously have great relationships with both venues and host communities,” said Anderson. “We fully expect both to bid once again, but believe it’s only fair to open up the process in conjunction with these format changes so that they can evaluate if and how it impacts them. We are not tied to any host format. We’d be open to having both tournaments at the same venue or continuing to have them in separate venues.”

The state tournaments will be played under the current four-weekend format in 2020, with the new format going into effect in 2021, 2022 and 2023.

In addition, the changes approved Monday will also alter the IHSA Boys & Girls Basketball State Series schedule at the Regional, Sectional and Super-Sectional levels.

The Request For Proposal information will be posted on IHSA.org later this week for parties interested in hosting.

1. The Board approved a recommendation to approve a schedule change for the IHSA Cross Country Regionals that Ida Crown Jewish Academy and Rochelle Zell Jewish High School are assigned to in the fall of 2019. That Regional will be moved to Friday at 1:00 PM to allow their students participation prior to the Sabbath. All other Regionals will be conducted on Saturday as scheduled.

2. The Board approved a recommendation to increase the pay of line judges in IHSA Volleyball State Series matches at the Sectional, Super-Sectional and State Final levels.

3. The Board approved a recommendation to modify the Principals Concurrence Form.

4. The Board heard a report from Assistant Executive Director Stacey Lambert on IHSA Concussion Reporting.

5. The Board approved a recommendation for a Program for International Students at Elgin Academy.


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: Boys & Girls Basketball, Boys & Girls Bowling, Competitive Cheerleading, Competitive Dance, Boys & Girls Gymnastics, Boys & Girls Soccer, Boys & Girls Swimming & Diving, Wrestling, Athletes with Disabilities, Chess, Journalism, Music/Solo Ensemble, Music Organization, Athletic Officials, Scholastic Bowl, Speech-Debate, Speech-Individual Events, Drama & Group Interpretation, Sportsmanship, Sports Medicine, Student Advisory Committee, Athletic Administrators and Activities Director.

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.

One non-consent item was approved:

1. Some Class 1A Regionals will be conducted on Friday and Saturday (instead of Saturday only) to keep wrestlers in compliance with the NFHS rule that limits them to competing in no more than five matches in a day.

Some consent items of note include:

Sports Medicine Advisory Committee
1. Changes were approved modifications to the Weekly Player Limitations Policy for Football. The Policy now reads:

1. A player shall not play in more than 2 games in any one week, and shall not play in more than     one game in a single day. For the purposes of this section, a week is defined as the seven-day period running from Monday through the following Sunday. (It is recommended that if a player does play in 2 games in a given week, both of those games are as a one-way player. [i.e., only plays on offense or defense or special teams])
2. Players cannot be involved in live contact/thud in practice the day after playing in a game.
3. 1 play in a game equals a game played. An exception to this would be: a. Specialized players (kicker, punter, holder only) can participate in back to back games on the same day. b. A player who enters the game for one play only due to an equipment failure or injury, will not have that play counted against them as a game.

NOTE: If a player plays in a game that is stopped due to weather or other circumstances and completed the next day, the player can participate in the resumed game the following day. This is allowed because the exposure is considered equivalent to a full game being played the night before.

This rule will continue to be evaluated.

2. A Policy for Sport Acclimatization for all fall sports was approved. See the 14-day Acclimatization by clicking here.

Boys & Girls Basketball
1. The Mercy Rule will now be used in postseason State Series games.

1. The Board sustained the Executive Director’s ruling on Waterloo (Gibault Catholic)’s classification in boys soccer for the 2019 season. The school was seeking an exemption to IHSA Policy 17.

2. The Board sustained the Executive Director’s ruling on Aurora (IMSA)’s classification in four-class sports. The school was seeking an exemption to IHSA Policy 17.

3. The Board sustained the Executive Director’s ruling on a student from Northbrook (Glenbrook North). The student was ruled ineligible for non-compliance with IHSA By-law 3.040 and its sub-sections.

4. The Board modified the Executive Director’s ruling on students from Peoria (Notre Dame) and Naperville (North) seeking an exemption to compete in an All-Star game. The student-athletes are being provided an exemption to By-law 3.121 in conjunction with a Board-sponsored by-law amendment next year that would amend By-law 3.121.


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 June 10, 2019, agenda:

1. As a part of the classification approval process, the Board heard a report on the sports impacted by the success formula for the 2019-20 school year.

2. The Board heard a report from the Executive Director on the new by-laws that will go into effect for the 2020-21 school year.

3. The Board heard an update from the Executive Director on the 2019 NFHS Summer Meeting.

4. The Board heard a report from the Executive Director on the third annual 5K IHSA Road Race, which was held on June 1, 2019 at Heartland Community College in Normal.

5. The Board discussed an Enrollment Variance request from Montini Catholic High School that will be revisited at the August Board meeting.

6. The IHSA Executive Director recognized the 2019 IHSA Distinguished Service Award winners, who will be honored during a banquet on June 10:
-Greg Cohen, Warren High School
-Al Crocker, Carlyle
-Marissa Frietsch, Bloomington
-Heather Gotschall, Normal
-Ron Helgeson, Jr., Peoria
-Bob LaCroix, Peoria
-Trent Purcell, Carlyle
-Bob Smith, Leyden High School
-Darin Smith, Carlyle
-Scott Steward, Salem
-Scott Taylor, Morton
-Doug Wasmuth, Carlyle


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