The Illinois High School Association (IHSA) Board of Directors met for its regularly scheduled meeting at the IHSA office in Bloomington on Wednesday, January 11, 2023, where the Board selected Evergreen Park Community High School as the host site for the 2023 IHSA Esports State Finals.
“We are excited to bring the IHSA Esports State Finals to Evergreen Park Community High School,” said IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson. “The school is passionate about holding this event and has the space and technology conducive to putting on a first-class state tournament event in the IHSA’s newest activity.”
The 2023 IHSA Esports State Finals will be conducted on Saturday, April 29 and expand to five games. The games contested in 2023 include Rocket League, Super Smash Bros. (Ultimate Singles & Ultimate Crew Battle), Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, NBA 2K, and FIFA.
Much of the State Final action will unfold in Evergreen Park Community High School’s Learning Resource Center (LRC), a central hub that houses a variety of labs and learning spaces that are equipped with multiple built-in 55-inch displays, overhead projectors, and 40 gaming PCs.
"Evergreen Park Community High School is thrilled to be selected as the host of the 2023 IHSA Esports State Finals," said Evergreen Park Superintendent Tom O'Malley. "As an educational institution, we are dedicated to providing students with every opportunity to represent their schools and communities, and view Esports as an avenue to accomplish that goal not just for our students but for students across the state of Illinois. We look forward to working with the IHSA, our community, and partnering schools to continue to grow Esports as an event and offer students the opportunity to compete in an activity they are passionate about."
Eight Esports Sectionals will be contested on Saturday, April 22 at various sites around the state with the top two finishers in each game from each Sectional advancing to the State Finals.
The IHSA Esports State Series debuted during the 2021-22 school year with state champions being crowned in three games, which included NBA 2K, Super Smash Bros., and Rocket League. The inaugural State Finals were co-hosted by Bloomington High School (NBA 2K, Super Smash Bros.) and Illinois Wesleyan University (Rocket League) in April of 2022.
1. The Board approved a recommendation to implement a new IHSA By-law in conjunction with the start of the IHSA Summer Contact days no later than June 5. Typically, new IHSA by-laws do not go into effect until July 1, but the Board voted to implement changes to By-law 3.157 with the start of of the summer contact day period so they can be utilized prior to the next season. The updates to IHSA By-law 3.157 (Proposal #11 during the IHSA’s annual legislative process in November and December) allow for 11 players vs. 11 players in football scrimmage activities (limited to helmet and shoulder pads) against another school during the IHSA’s summer contact period. The by-law previously limited such scrimmage activities to five players vs. five players. In December, IHSA member schools voted in favor of expanding the limitations of the by-law (348 for, 99 against, 68 no opinion) to permit 11 vs. 11 scrimmage activities. IHSA Summer Contact Days may begin once a school has completed its spring semester or on June 5, 2023, whichever date is earlier.
APPEALS & ELIGIBILITY RULINGS
1. The Board sustained the Executive Director’s ruling on a student from St. Rita High School in Chicago. 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 Deland-Weldon High School. The student was ruled ineligible for non-compliance with IHSA By-law 3.042.
3. The Board sustained the Executive Director’s ruling on a student from Metro-East Lutheran in Edwardsville. The student was granted limited lower-level eligibility until June 18, 2023, when the student will gain full eligibility.
4. The Board modified the Executive Director’s ruling on a student from Whitney Young High School in Chicago. The student was initially granted limited lower-level eligibility, but now has full varsity eligibility.
At each meeting of the Board of Directors, there are certain items the Board discusses, but upon which no action was taken or action may not be required. The following is a report of those items from the January 11, 2023, agenda:
1. The Board continued its discussion from December on competitive balance among IHSA membership.
2. The Board heard a report from the Executive Director on the topics discussed at the NFHS 11 States Meeting in December and the NFHS Winter Meeting in January.
3. Given the medical emergency that occurred during the recent NFL game between the Buffalo Bills and the Cincinnati Bengals, the Board discussed communication to the membership reminding schools to continue to evaluate and practice their medical emergency action plans. The Board has also asked the IHSA Sports Medicine Advisory Committee to review CPR certification mandates for coaches and officials.
4. The Board discussed the platforms that could potentially be used in the IHSA Esports State Series and recommended no action or changes.
5. The Board discussed the implementation of the new by-laws as a result of the 2022 IHSA legislative process. The IHSA membership voted to approve eight new by-laws in December.