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Legislative Commission Approves Additional By-Law Proposal in Special Session

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The Illinois High School Association's Legislative Commission voted Tuesday (Mar. 18) in a special session to refer a proposal that would amend the IHSA Constitution and By-laws to a vote of the general membership. The proposal is a modification of Proposal 9, which was presented to member school personnel at 28 town meetings held around the state during the month of November. The original Proposal 9 did not appear on the ballot with other proposals in December.

The ballot containing the proposal will be available to each member school's official representative in the IHSA's online Schools Center, beginning Wednesday, March 19. The deadline to submit the ballot is midnight, Friday, April 18. The ballots will be tabulated and the results posted on Monday, April 21. A simple majority of votes cast will determine whether the proposal passes.

A total of 29 of the 35 commissioners participated in Monday's meeting, which was conducted electronically through the IHSA Office in Bloomington.

Because the proposal contains numerous provisions, it is presented here in its entirety.


By-law 3.157 currently reads:

Schools may organize and participate in football activities during the summer under the following conditions:

a) A high school team may wear full pads for the school’s summer football camp. Before wearing full pads, student-athletes must build up to full pads in the following manner:

1. 1st two (2) days of camp: helmets only

2. Days three (3) and four (4): helmets and shoulder pads

3. Day five (5): full pads

b) 7 on 7 pass skeleton (touch only) games are allowed against other schools in the summer, and helmets, mouth pieces, and appropriate footwear may be worn during these 7 on 7 contests.


The proposed By-law 3.157 would read:

During the summer contact period, schools may not organize or participate in any football activities that involve “full contact” or allow players to be in full pads, even if “full contact” doesn’t occur.

“Full contact” is defined as football drills or live game simulations where ‘live action’ occurs. ‘Live action’, as defined by USA Football, is contact at game speed where players execute full tackles at a competitive pace taking players to the ground. It is assumed that when players are not in full pads, no live action drills or simulations will occur. Players not in full pads may participate in ‘air’, ‘bags’, ‘wrap’, and ‘thud’ drills and simulations at any point. These contact levels are defined as:

Air – Players should run unopposed without bags or any opposition.

Bags – Activity is executed against a bag, shield, or pad to allow for a soft-contact surface, with or without the resistance of a teammate or coach standing behind the bag.

Wrap – Drills run at full speed until contact, which is above the waist with the players remaining on their feet.

Thud – Same as wrap but tempo is competitive with no pre-determined winner and the players are not tackling to the ground.

During the summer contact period, 7 on 7 pass skeleton (touch only) games are allowed against other schools, and helmets, mouth pieces, and appropriate footwear are the only equipment that may be worn during these 7 on 7 contests.

Organized football activity that doesn’t involve any protective equipment (such as a helmet) can occur at any time and for any length on a given day so long as coaches and players do not violate the provisions of IHSA By-laws 3.151 and 3.153.

During the summer contact period, schools may organize and participate in football activities involving coaches and students at that school under the following conditions:

a. A high school team may wear helmets and shoulder pads for the school’s organized football activities, building up to this in the following manner:

1. 1st two (2) days of summer football activities: helmets only: (any break in summer contact days with the team exceeding seven (7) days would additionally require two (2) days of helmet only activities).

2. Day three (3): helmets and shoulder pads are the maximum allowed equipment for the remaining contact day period.

b. The following limitations are in effect during the summer contact day period:

1. Practices are limited to a maximum of five (5) hours per day with players in helmets and shoulder pads. Any additional (no protective equipment) football related activities beyond the five (5) hours per day can only be conducted following two (2) hours of rest. No one practice can exceed three (3) hours before a two (2) hour rest period is allowed.

2. Practices with helmet and shoulder pads are limited to fourteen (14) hours per week (Sunday – Saturday) with a maximum of fifteen (15) days in helmet and shoulder pads during the twenty-five (25) summer contact day period.

During the summer contact period, schools may attend a summer football camp that involves coaches and/or players from another high school under the following conditions:

a. Practice limit maximums of equipment and hours per day along with hours per week follow the same limitations as identified above.

b. The maximum number of football camp days with other teams is limited to four (4) days during the summer.

c. The maximum number of players from one school in drill work versus another school is five (5) players. Note: 7 on 7 non-padded passing games are allowed during the summer.


Rationale of Submitter

The IHSA Sports Medicine Advisory Committee and the Football Advisory Committee have been reviewing the summer football policies. This proposal is a reflection of their work and is also based on feedback from various constituencies. This proposal will minimize risk to student athletes while allowing for the teaching of appropriate football fundamentals. The proposal provides clear guidelines for practice times, equipment use, and contact, in addition to adding an acclimatization protocol to the summer contact day period.

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