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IHSA Granting Waivers for Illegal Basketball Uniforms

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The Illinois High School Association (IHSA) announced today that waivers for illegal basketball uniforms can be secured by completing the “Basketball Uniform Waiver Request Form” that is available online in the IHSA Schools Center. Following last year’s basketball state tournament series, the Association stepped up its efforts to make officials and schools aware of the uniform rules and regulations.

“The uniform rule was specifically addressed in this year’s preseason rule interpretation meetings, said IHSA Executive Director Marty Hickman. “Every school and every official was reminded that compliance with the rule was mandatory rather than optional.”

Officials have recently notified the IHSA of several schools whose uniforms do not currently comply with National Federation of State High School Association (NFHS) rules. As a result, the Association has instituted a waiver process that allows schools to use their illegal uniforms for the remainder of this season, including the state tournament series, without penalty.

In addition, schools successfully completing the waiver process this year will be allowed to petition for the waiver on an annual basis until they arrive at the normal replacement cycle for their uniforms. Schools must receive a waiver this year to be eligible for a waiver during the 2010-11 season.

“We have no intention of requiring schools to expend additional dollars now, or in the future, to replace illegal uniforms,” added Hickman. “We fully realize there are many more pressing financial needs in our schools than basketball uniforms.”

Schools wearing illegal uniforms that fail to apply for a waiver will continue to be penalized per NFHS rules in the regular season and IHSA State Series. The penalty for an illegal uniform is a technical foul assessed to the offending team’s coach prior to the start of the contest.

The Association is encouraging schools to specify to their uniform supplier that all new uniforms must comply with NFHS regulations. Further, the IHSA will be submitting a proposal to the NFHS to simplify the basketball uniform rule.

“When a school or administrator complains about a rule, we always tell them that there is a process in place to change that rule and that they should submit a by-law proposal,” said Hickman. “We are taking our own advice, so to speak, as we feel that the NFHS uniform rules for basketball may be a bit too restrictive and cumbersome. We hope our proposal will be well received and help streamline those rules.”

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