Wilson To Return As Official Ball of IHSA in 2014-15

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The Illinois High School Association (IHSA) Board of Directors met at its regularly scheduled meeting at the IHSA office in Bloomington on Monday, January 13, 2014, where the Board approved a recommendation for a new ball contract.

Chicago-based Wilson Sporting Goods Co. will return as The Official Ball of the IHSA beginning in the 2014-15 school year, as the IHSA Board approved a proposal that will run through the 2023-24 school year. Wilson served as the IHSA’s official ball partner from 1994-2009 and currently has high school ball adoptions in 33 other states.

“The IHSA and Wilson feel like a natural fit together and we are pleased to reunite,” said IHSA Executive Director Marty Hickman. “Both of our organizations have storied traditions, much of which have been intertwined. We know firsthand the quality of Wilson’s products and service, and we are glad to be able to offer both to our member schools again.”

Wilson balls will be used exclusively in IHSA State Series contests in the following sports: Girls Badminton, Baseball, Boys & Girls Basketball, Football, Boys & Girls Golf, Boys & Girls Soccer, Softball, Boys & Girls Tennis and Boys & Girls Volleyball.

“We are excited about the opportunity to be reunited with the IHSA,” said Bill Kirchner, Vice President Wilson US Sales. “The Wilson team looks forward to building a strong partnership with Marty Hickman and the IHSA staff. We are committed to supporting the needs of Illinois’ high schools, coaches and student-athletes by providing high quality products that perform at a championship level. Wilson is proud to be the ball of choice in Illinois.”

The IHSA’s current ball contract with Baden Sports concludes at the end of the 2013-14 school year.

“We are appreciative of the quality and professionalism that Baden provided the IHSA and its member schools over the past five years,” said Hickman. “We also want to thank all the ball companies who took the time and resources to submit bids for this current contract. There were several strong bids from quality companies, which made for a difficult decision.”

The specific Wilson ball models for each IHSA sport will be announced soon.

1. The Board approved a recommendation to convene a special session of the Legislative
Commission to consider a proposal to modify the summer football policies.

2. The Board approved a recommendation to move the dates of the IHSA Bass Fishing Sectionals
and State Finals back one week in 2014-15 and two weeks in 2015-16. The State Finals will now annually align with the calendar to fall during the weekend 10 days prior to Memorial Day and the Sectionals two weeks prior to that.

IHSA Associate Executive Director & Bass Fishing Administrator Kurt Gibson:
“Moving the tournaments back two weeks should provide a better experience for the competing students and coaches. It increases the likelihood of better fishing conditions, which has been an on-going concern for the bass fishing program from its inception. We appreciate the City of Carlyle and everyone involved with Carlyle Lake for their flexibility in allowing us to adjust our schedule to create a better event for our member schools.”

1. The Board sustained the Executive Director’s ruling on a student from Olympia Fields (Rich Central). The student was ruled ineligible for non-compliance with IHSA by-law 3.045.

2. The Board sustained the Executive Director’s ruling on a student from Rockford (R. Christian). The student was ruled ineligible for non-compliance with IHSA by-law 3.043.3.

3. The Board sustained the Executive Director’s ruling on a student from Mundelein (H.S.). The student was ruled ineligible for non-compliance with IHSA by-law 3.043.3.

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 January 13, 2014, agenda:

1. The Board met with Illinois State Representative Carol Sente and TCYFL President Geoff Meyer to review IHSA risk minimization initiatives and to discuss future partnerships.

2. The Board heard a report from the Executive Director on the Let’s Connect Conference that
was held in Rosemont, Illinois on January 9-10. Staff members from state associations around
the country whose responsibilities include IT, sportsmanship, student services and media
relations met to discuss current practices and innovations.

3. The Board heard a report from the Executive Director on the All-State Academic Team
deadline, which is February 14, 2014. Nomination forms are currently available for schools in the
Schools Center.

4. The Board heard a report from the Executive Director on updated Public Service
Announcements produced by the NFHS and NIAAA that have been received and will be provided
to media around the state.

5. The Board discussed the recommendation from the IHSA ad hoc Success Factor Committee.
The Board requested more information on the impact of the recommendations and will
reconvene the subject at a future meeting. Committee members Jim Quaid (Gordon Tech
Principal, IHSA Board Member), Jim Prunty (St. Ignatius Athletic Director) and Dave Ribbens
(Chicago University Athletic Director) were all present at the meeting.

6. The Executive Director provided the Board with a report on the 11 by-law proposals that were
approved by the member schools via Amendment Ballot voting. Click here for 11 proposals

7. The Board heard a report on the member schools that have been suspended from IHSA
membership for not attending an IHSA Principals Rules Meeting for two consecutive years.

All suspended schools have been invited to attend a make-up meeting at the IHSA Office on
January 16, 2014. The Board penalizes the second consecutive violation by a school by
suspending the school from participation in the state series for a period of one year beginning
on January 16.

8. The Executive Director provided the Board with an update on the NFHS Board of Directors
Meeting and NFHS Winter Meeting that was held from January 3-7.


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