(10-10-19) Schools from the Chicago suburbs have submitted a new football playoff proposal in hopes of avoiding district play in future. It also looks to be a last second ‘Hail Mary’ attempt that causes new issues that led to the district vote passing.

Highlights of the proposal include an 8-game regular season, 48 teams from each class to qualify (,top 16 seeds get first week playoff bye ), success points determine playoff qualifiers (process not included in proposal) and IHSA will schedule match-ups for week 9 for non-qualifying teams.

The plan will have to first be considered by the IHSA leadership for consideration to be submitted as a vote to the membership, if approved a vote will follow by member schools

Submitted By: John Catalano, Official Representative – Northbrook (Glenbrook North), Filberto Torres,Official Representative – Aurora (East), Charles Hiscock, Principal – Aurora (West Aurora), Rob Wagner,Official Representative – Elmhurst (York), Steve Gertz, Official Representative – Carpentersville (DundeeCrown), Tim Burkhalter, Official Representative – Lake Forest (H.S), Barry Gurvey, Official Representative -Pekin, Michael Obsuszt, Official Representative – Barrington, Steven Schoenfelder, Official Representative- Antioch, Will Dwyer, Principal – West Chicago (H.S), Richard Knar, Official Representative – Moline (H.S),Trista Sanders, Principal- Moline (H.S.) Ron Lear, Official Representative – Plainfield (North), Mark Krusz,Official Representative – Plainfield (Central), Kurt Weigt, Official Representative – Oswego (East), SteveMillsaps, Official Representative – Joliet (West), Jennifer Doede, Official Representative – Joliet (Central),Mike Strode, Official Representative – Romeoville (H.S.), Paul Pennington, Official Representative – Elgin(H.S.), Ethan Karolczak, Official Representative – Elgin (Larkin), Tricia Betthauser, Official Representative -Lincolnshire (Stevenson), Dan Klett, Principal – Wauconda, Bob Swanson, Executive Secretary Western Big6 Conference, Eric Michaelsen, Principal – Lemont (H.S.), Erin DeLuga, Principal – Elmhurst (York), MichelleLillis, Official Representative – Rock Island (H.S.)

The rationale on the proposal –

While understanding the landscape and a need for change in the football scheduling model, we believe expanding playoffs from 32 teams to 48 per class (256 teams to 384 teams overall), is a much better solution to the issues and concerns about footballscheduling – the drive for 5 and conference shuffling than the districting model. By only needing 3 wins to qualify for the playoffs,the pressure on schools, coaches and ADs to find 5 wins is removed. The need to change conferences to find 5 wins is also removed.Unlike the district model that assumes having 1-2 games that don’t count that will mean schools will open up their schedule and play“bigger” schools, there are no guarantees that will actually happen. Why are coaches and schools going to risk playing games that don’t count? All games matter/count in this model.

Football districting is a divisive issue that did not consider or factor in anything other than school size and geography. To assume/equate the only factor in football success is school size is discriminatory. Districting punishes schools with high enrollment,but small football participation numbers and does not factor in football success/history. Districting also does not take into accountsocio-economic demographics of schools. Assumes higher enrollment = football success which is not always true. The district model also does not take into consideration teams that utilize shared venues/stadiums, which will lead to scheduling conflicts and issues once the IHSA releases the district scheduling for the year. Districting also does not consider fan participation/travel/attendance,traffic and potential overnight accommodations and the economic resources needed to cover the added expense of travel for someteams. The submitters did entertain an all schools make the playoffs model as well as a 56 team playoff model but did not believe that was in the best interest of all schools, as 2-6, 1-7, 0-8 could potentially make the playoffs in those models. The submitters also feel strongly that no IHSA by-law should ever be created that would leave schools to consider removing a sport, or, in this case,moving to 8-man football. Any proposed by-law should be about creating opportunity and grow the sport, not hamper it.


●returns autonomy to schools to schedule the best fit for the needs/abilities/safety of their students – district model sets upmassive mismatches and creates student safety concerns and risks – district model is unclear as to who will be held liable ifa student gets injured when the IHSA mandates schedule

●To restore conference alignment and keep long-time traditions and rivalries alive

●all games matter – districts provide 2 weeks of meaningless games

●To help schools impacted by conference realignment by lessening the “regular” season by one game – 1 less non-con isneeded

●Lower level games/schedules restored – district model has nothing in place for lower levels

●Schools know their clientele (students) best. IHSA is incapable of factoring in each unique school’s makeup and schedulingappropriately and in the best interest of students at all schools.

●economic factor – schools can keep long-time rivals and traditions on the schedule to ensure gate receipts stay the same. In districts, schools will play “uncommon” opponents and potentially lose out on ticket money.

●conferences have rules, protocols, align levels and game management in place along with awards for students(all-conference, mvp, etc), district model has nothing for this

●officials – conferences can return to using their assignors to get officials for games. District model provides nothing forofficials and how they are assigned.

●More teams make the playoffs

●48 team playoff allows for more competitive 1st round match-ups, as 5-3 could play 3-5, 4-4 could play 6-2, etc.

●Ease of scheduling – some districts have 9 teams in them, nothing in place for their “bye”week in district

Should slow conference shuffling when only 3 wins are needed to make the playoffs

●Eliminates the drive for 5


●10 team conferences have to figure out scheduling and conference champs

●Will not alleviate all issues with current 9 game schedule, conference shifting and scheduling

●Will not help odd numbered conferences(5, 7, 9, 11, etc teams) as they will still may have to travel far/out of state one

Revise By-law 5.074 to read:

Starting with the 2021 school year, all IHSA Schools with play a 9 week schedule with an 8 game regular season schedule, as scheduled by each individual school. For week 9, playoff qualifying teams will begin the playoffs with the top 16 seeds in each class receiving a bye week until week 10. Non-qualifying teams will play week 9, as scheduled by the IHSA, which will be determined by season record and geography – class size will only be a determining factor if there are multiple schools in the same geographic area with similar records. Non-qualifying schools may opt out of playing week 9 as long as they notify the IHSA by10am on Monday of week 8. Should there be an odd number of non-qualifiers, the team in each class with the lowest playoffpoints will not participate.

Structure of by-law Playoffs​ –

48 teams qualify for playoffs, top 16 seeds get bye (NFL, college, all get byes/time off in between playoff/bowl games)

●Success points determine playoff qualifiers

●Conference champs are automatically in playoffs

●Teams with 6+ wins qualify automatically

●Teams with 5 wins qualify as ranked by success points

●Teams with 4 wins qualify as ranked by success points

●Teams with 3 wins qualify as ranked by success points

●Teams with 2 wins could qualify as ranked by success points

Non-qualifying teams

IHSA will schedule match-ups for week 9 for non-qualifying teams based on geography and record. School size/Class level will not bea determining factor. Schools can opt out of week 9 if they give notice to IHSA by 10am on the Monday of week 8. If there is an odd number of teams willing to play week 9, the 0-8 team with lowest success points will not participate. IHSA will schedule officials forthis game but, host school will pay for officials. Home team will be determined by record and/or playoff points. All factors beingequal the schools will work together to decide home/away. If no agreement can be reached, the IHSA will determine home team via coin toss. This game is individually hosted and there will be no financial support from the IHSA for this game.