The Illinois High School Association (IHSA) Board of Directors met for its regularly scheduled meeting, which included both virtual and in-person attendance, on Monday, April 12, 2021, where the Board took action on several items, including a reduction in contact days this summer, a three-year membership assessment plan to aid in the IHSA’s economic recovery, and setting several spring State Final dates.
In addition, the Board announced updates from the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) regarding masks for students competing in low-risk outdoor sports and activities.
Students competing in low-risk outdoor sports and activities are no longer required to wear masks while competing. In-season IHSA sports and activities impacted by this update include bass fishing, baseball, softball, tennis, and track & field. Students must continue to wear masks in these sports and activities when they are not actively competing (i.e. athletes on the bench).
Officials in these sports and activities must continue to wear masks unless they are socially distanced. More guidance will be provided to the coaches and officials in these respective sports from the IHSA in the coming days.
IDPH also recommends COVID-19 testing for student-athletes in high-risk sports. IDPH announced that the State of Illinois will fund optional testing for any school teams who wish to test their high-risk sports teams. Current high-risk IHSA sports include football, boys lacrosse, and wrestling. The IHSA will provide member schools with state testing contacts when that information is available from IDPH.
An updated version of the IDPH All-Sports Policy reflecting today's changes can be found here: IDPH All-Sports Policy.
1. The Board approved a recommendation to reduce the IHSA Summer Contact Day period from 25 contact days to 20 contact days for the summer of 2021 only.
IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson:
“Given the unusual nature of the school year, the IHSA Board and Sports Medicine Advisory Committee (SMAC) felt like a modest reduction in contact days would be in the best interest of the student-athletes’ and coaches’ mental, physical, and emotional well-being. With so many sports seasons being moved to the spring and summer this year, and with several overlapping, SMAC believes it is vital that we attempt to reduce the wear and tear on our athletes to reduce overuse injuries and allow them more time to recover. Many coaches have also been forced to coach multiple overlapping sports with no time off, so it is our hope that this contact day reduction will allow them to recharge as well. The Board discussed further limitations suggested by the SMAC, but felt that each school could better assess its own programs and circumstances to determine their summer contact day schedule.”
2. The Board approved a recommendation from the IHSA Financial Ad Hoc Committee to implement an annual membership assessment over the course of the 2021-22, 2022-23, and 2023-24 school years. Known as the IHSA Recovery Plan, the graduated fee structure is based on a school’s enrollment, which is generally a strong indicator of participation in IHSA sport and activity programs. Assessments for the 2021-22 school year will be collected through September 1, 2021. The graduated assessment structure is as follows:
IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson:
“The IHSA Board does not make this decision, or for that matter, any decision that has a fiduciary impact on our member schools lightly. The pandemic has obviously been unprecedented and the financial impact on the Association immense. The large majority of the IHSA budget is derived from gate receipts from postseason tournaments, most of which have been canceled or void of fans for the past year or longer. Meanwhile, our mission has continued, as we maintain the majority of our day-to-day responsibilities for our membership, while also continuing to conduct many state tournaments in virtual formats with an increasing emphasis on returning to in-person events when possible. We have been open and transparent with our member schools about our financial standing and the cuts and freezes we have and continue to make in order to be as fiscally responsible as possible. Our financial ad hoc committee was representative of a diverse group of schools from around the state, and they discussed a number of different budgetary options. They were unanimous in their decision that they believed the best option was the membership assessment fee structure approved today by our Board. It is important to note that the IHSA Recovery Plan will be reevaluated over the next three years. If we are able to reduce or eliminate future assessments, then we will look to do so. We remain grateful and appreciative of all the support our member schools have provided us as we have navigated the uncertainty of the past year.”
3. The Board approved a recommendation to finalize the dates and locations of several spring state finals. A general overview is provided below. More information will be posted on each individual sport page in the coming days. A full State Series in Girls Lacrosse was also approved after it was recently reclassified by IDPH from high risk to moderate risk. Boys Lacrosse remains at a high-risk classification by IDPH and can only conduct a Sectional for eligible schools. Boys Lacrosse Sectionals will begin on June 7 regardless of any forthcoming classification changes by IDPH based on a recent coaches survey.
Baseball State Finals
June 17: Class 1A at Illinois State University
June 17: Class 3A at Schaumburg Boomers
June 18: Class 2A at Illinois State University
June 19: Class 4A at Joliet Slammers
Girls Lacrosse State Finals
June 17: Semifinals at Glenbrook North High School
June 18: 3rd Place/State Championship at Glenbrook South High School
Softball State Finals
June 16: Class 1A & 2A State Finals at Louisville Slugger in Peoria
June 17: Class 3A & 4A State Finals at Louisville Slugger in Peoria
Track & Field State Finals
June 10: Class 1A Girls at Eastern Illinois University
June 11: Class 2A Girls at Eastern Illinois University
June 12: Class 3A Girls at Eastern Illinois University
June 17: Class 1A Boys at Eastern Illinois University
June 18: Class 2A Boys at Eastern Illinois University
June 19: Class 3A Boys at Eastern Illinois University
4. The Board approved a recommendation to approve Wrestling Guidelines for the 2021 season. The 2021 IHSA wrestling season will be conducted from April 19 to June 12. The guidelines will be posted on IHSA.org/Resources/COVID-19 in the coming days.
5. The Board approved a recommendation to modify the Preparticipation Physical Evaluation with suggested updates from the SMAC.
6. The Board approved a recommendation to reemploy the Associate Executive Director, Assistant Executive Directors, Director of Information Technology, Coordinator of Special Programs and Executive Assistant.
7. 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 2021-22 school year.
8. The Board approved IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson and Board President Katy Hasson to represent the IHSA at the 2021 NFHS Summer Meeting in June. IHSA Associate Executive Director Kurt Gibson will also attend to accept his NFHS Citation Award, which was announced in January 2020, but was never awarded due to the 2020 conference being canceled by the pandemic.
9. The Board approved four members of the IHSA Student Advisory Committee to represent the IHSA by attending the NFHS Student Leadership Summit in July.
APPEALS & ELIGIBILITY RULINGS
1. The Board sustained the Executive Director’s ruling on a student from Kankakee (McNamara). The student was ruled ineligible for non-compliance with IHSA By-law 3.040 and its sub-sections.
2. The Board sustained the Executive Director’s ruling on a student from Rushville (R.-Industry). The student was ruled ineligible for non-compliance with IHSA By-law 3.030.
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 12, 2021, agenda:
1. IHSA Assistant Director Stacey Lambert shared the results of a survey developed by the Sports Medicine Advisory Committee that was administered to the coaches of IHSA sports that recently concluded. The data quantified how COVID-19 impacted each teams’ respective season and will be shared with IDPH.
2. The Board heard a report on a recommendation from the Sports Medicine Advisory Committee related to mask usage in low-risk outdoor sports. The Board took no action, as it expects to have an update from IDPH on this matter later this week.
3. The Board recognized the members of the 2021 IHSA All-State Academic Team. A virtual recognition video of the team was recently posted here.
4. The Board heard a report on Student Spirit Showdown.
5. The Board heard a report on the upcoming NFHS Legal Meeting on April 15.