IHSA Board Approves Modified Postseason For Fall Sports


IHSA News & Announcements Archive


IHSA Board Approves Modified Postseason For Fall Sports

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The Illinois High School Association (IHSA) Board of Directors met virtually for their regularly scheduled board meeting on Monday, August 24, 2020, where the Board approved a plan to conduct modified postseason state series tournaments in boys and girls golf, boys and girls cross country, girls swimming & diving, and girls tennis this fall.

The approved plan will allow for a single round of localized geographic competition to be conducted in October. Boys golf will be held on October 6 and girls golf on October 7, with the other sports likely to occur the week of October 19-24.

“The health and safety of the student-athletes, their coaches, and their school communities has been our priority from the start of the pandemic,” said IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson. “Throughout the spring and summer, we looked for ways to reengage student-athletes with their peers and coaches, and our membership has shared countless positive experiences from that initial ‘return to play’ period. We have found similar value in being able to conduct fall sports, and believe the participants deserve a culminating experience if we can offer it safely.”

The IHSA State Series tournaments will meet all Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) guidelines as it relates to COVID-19. The IHSA will be finalizing and releasing details for each fall state series tournament in the coming weeks, including dates, schedules, awards, structure, and additional safety precautions.

In conjunction with the modified fall state series, the Board also approved a $100 state series entry fee for any school entering a team or individual in any of the fall sports.

“The IHSA office is charged with the responsibility of being a good steward of the Association’s finances,” said Anderson. “The past few months have seen a significant reduction in the IHSA’s income, given the cancellation of the IHSA Boys Basketball State Finals and the entire spring season. Financial challenges remain on the horizon in 2020-21 due to the limited number of sports currently classified as ‘low risk’ by the state, making the chances of conducting full state series tournaments unlikely at this time."

The IHSA By-laws allow the Board of Directors the discretion to implement entry fees into IHSA State Series tournaments. The IHSA last charged a tournament entry fees in 2004-05.

“An overwhelming number of school administrators supported the fees in recent surveys,” said Anderson. “Not charging entry fees has been a point of pride for the IHSA. We are humbled by the support of our member schools during this difficult time, and appreciative of their support.”

The Board will continue to look at the postseason options by sport and season as the school year progresses, so they can accurately gauge the allowable IDPH options and most current COVID-19 data.

“Interscholastic sports, like the IHSA and IESA, have rightfully followed stricter return to play guidance than non-school events since the start of the summer,” said Anderson.  “While we understand and appreciate the frustration felt by high school coaches due to the stricter guidance, we also recognize the need for that added guidance, even though it may create more challenges for us. There is a responsibility that exists within the school setting to create a safer environment for the community as a whole, while non-school competitions are often conducted without any standardized safety protocols.”

1. The Board approved a recommendation to implement a Hate Speech and Harassment Policy. To see the Policy, click here.
IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson:
“The IHSA has not and will not tolerate hate speech, and this new Policy helps further reiterate our position that black lives matter. But hate speech goes beyond racism. It can be a verbal or non-verbal action aimed at an individual’s gender, sexual orientation, race, religion, creed, and beyond. This policy is addressing hate speech at its core with the goal of educating everyone involved. It goes well beyond the scope of the game. Previously, incidents of hate speech would have fallen on game officials seeing or hearing an inappropriate action live, and then using their game rules to assess the appropriate unsporting penalty. If hate speech occurs, it will be addressed immediately at the contest, and then follow-up education will occur with the team and coach. This is a timely addition given some of the recent events in our country, but it has actually been in the works for several months. We appreciate the conferences who helped shepherd this cause at the state level, as well as individuals like Evanston Township High School Athletic Director Chris Livatino and Glenbard East High School Athletic Director Dwayne Bates for previously speaking with the IHSA Board about the merits of a hate speech policy.”

2. The Board approved a recommendation for the IHSA Girls Softball State Finals to move to the Louisville Slugger Complex in Peoria beginning in 2021. The contract encompasses five seasons from 2021-2025. The Eastside Centre in East Peoria, who has hosted the state finals since 2001, also submitted a hosting proposal along with Chicago Bandits Stadium in Rosemont, the Rantoul Family Sports Complex, and Southern Illinois University.
IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson:
 “Louisville Slugger is an amazing complex and we are excited to transition the tournament there. The amenities and stadium feel of the facility will provide an unforgettable experience for the student-athletes, coaches, and fans. We are excited for the tourney to remain in the Peoria area, and incredibly thankful for all that the Eastside Centre and its staff have done for this tournament through the years. Thank you to all the groups who submitted bids. They are all amazing places to watch softball and help highlight why the sport is thriving in our state.”

3. The Board approved a recommendation to approve a partnership with the Wanamaker Corporation, making iWanamaker the official scoring app of IHSA golf.
IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson:
“We are always looking for ways to integrate new technology into our sports and activities, and we are excited to work with an innovator like Wanamaker. We believe that iWanamaker is the top golf scoring app on the market, and know that its live scoring function will serve the players, fans, and media well during the IHSA postseason. We encourage our schools to use it in the regular-season as well, as it helps reduce contact among players.”

4. The IHSA Board tabled a recommendation to approve a budget for 2020-21 school year.
IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson:
“In addressing the financial challenges currently facing the association, the IHSA continues to discuss the budget for the 2020-21 school year that currently reflects approximately a 40% percent reduction in expenses from 2019-20. The financial strains placed on many businesses due to COVID-19 are also being felt by the IHSA. As a non-profit organization, the IHSA relies on fan attendance at IHSA postseason events to account for approximately 70% percent of our annual income. We have made considerable reductions already, and realize that more will be forthcoming as we navigate the challenges of this school year.”

5.  The Board determined that there will be no late fees added for officials during the 2020-21 school year.

6. The Board approved a recommendation to move the 2021-22 officials licensing renewal period to begin on July 1, 2021.

7. The Board approved a recommendation to change the cost of NFHS Rulebooks sold via the IHSA office from $7.00 to $9.00 per rulebook to better match the pricing of other state high school associations.

8. The Board approved a recommendation to move the October Board meeting date to October 19.

9. The Board approved a recommendation to implement updates to the IHSA Employee Policies and Document Retention Plans for the 2020-21 school year.

1. The Board sustained the Executive Director’s ruling on a student from Aurora (Illinois Math and Science Academy). The student was ruled ineligible for non-compliance with IHSA By-law 3.011.

2. The Board sustained the Executive Director’s ruling on a student from Alton (Marquette). The student was ruled ineligible for non-compliance with IHSA By-law 3.040.

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 August 24, 2020, agenda:

1. The Board discussed the IHSA Scholastic Standing By-law (3.023) as it relates to participation in winter, spring, and summer sport seasons for students who graduate at the conclusion of the first semester.  At this time the board will not grant an exception to this by-law. 

2. The Board discussed non-school team participation by student-athletes when competing on a school team in the same sport. The Board is not considering any action for fall or winter sports related to this by-law. They are seeking more data on the impact that providing an exemption to this rule would have on the IHSA sports being played in the spring and summer seasons during the 2020-21 school year. They plan to revisit the matter at an upcoming meeting in advance of the spring and summer seasons.

3. The Board heard a presentation on the potential implementation of a shot clock in boys and girls basketball from the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association, who were represented by Michael Ellis from Evanston (Twp.), Matt Monroe from Chicago (St. Ignatius), Tyrone Slaughter from Chicago (Whitney Young) and Patrick Woods from St. Charles (East). The Board and IHSA staff will work with the presenters on potential next steps.

4. The Board heard a report from Coordinator of Special Programs Raye McDonald on the annual all-school mailing that was conducted in mid-August.


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