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(12-17-19) Just last year the Illinois High School Association ( IHSA) voted to go to District play in football, this year after a re-vote they have decided to rescind all of that.

  • 2019 vote – Proposal 15 (passed 374-241-87) – revoke districts
  • 2018 vote – Proposal 23 (passed 324-307-69) – start district play

Rockford East athletic director and football coach Gary Griffin is a member of the IHSA board of directors that decided to put the issue up for a re-vote.

In a Rockford Register Star story he said –

“My problem is every year there is another proposal, and this proposal was a good proposal until everybody figured out who they would have to play,  and then it wasn’t so good any more,”

Which begs the question…so why did schools vote for something that was not properly vented by school officials? If a student did this on a project they would surely fail that class.

Fieldcrest High School head coach Derek Schneeman told the Bloomington Pantagraph

“There seemed to be a lot of questions and not a lot of answers coming out.”

Nobody knew exactly what it was going to look like. To make such a drastic change without seeing a blueprint of how everything is going to be, I think that changed a lot of administrators’ minds.

The first two games that didn’t count for anything and schools not knowing where they would be placed and who they were going to play … those are probably the two main reasons that caused this to be overturned.”

Questions and Answers on District play

  • First two games don’t mean anything in district play. a 0-5 team in the current playoff system the next four games may not mean anything
  • If its not broken why fix it? So why did it pass the first time?
  • Rescinding district play is the right thing to do…but will it solve scheduling problems and conference jumping?
  • District play will allow schools to be class identified, is it better to wait until playoff time to do that.

A look back at the roller coaster ride on district votes –

What about schools who were counting on districts for the future?

Naperville North football coach Sean Drendel told the Daily Herald

“Very disappointed, especially with the shortsighted vision of many teams in terms of scheduling. We can’t find a Week 3 or Week 9 game that’s within 350 miles of us.

“It’s unfortunate. I thought Illinois would have gone along with what so many other states are already doing (with districts).”

IHSA Press Release

IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson

(Editor’s insertfollowing is Anderson’s response after last year’s vote

IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson

“It is a historic change. The narrow gap in the voting indicates that there are pros and cons that impact our diverse football-playing membership in a multitude of ways. We hope that it will effectively address conference realignment and scheduling concerns, while helping create long-term sustainability and growth for high school football in the state.”


Here is a summary of the proposals and the vote totals. (The numbers in parentheses indicate the total of yes, no, and no opinion votes. For an amendment to pass, yes votes must outnumber no votes.)

  • Proposal 1 (passed 448-181-73): Expands the opportunity for approved schools to participate in invitational tournaments during the regular season.
  • Proposal 2 (passed 592-80-28): Expands the administrators permitted to serve on the IHSA Board of Directors to include the administrators designated as the Official Representative of their schools.
  • Proposal 10 (rejected 328-349-24): Reduces the number of summer contact days from 25 to 20.
  • Proposal 11 (passed 489-149-62): Eliminates a required annual determination of classification which therefore permits the two-year classification cycle.
  • Proposal 13 (passed 206-133-362): Moves the start of the Fall Baseball season one week earlier for practices and contests.
  • Proposal 14 (passed 428-246-25): Moves the start and ending dates for the IHSA spring baseball and softball seasons (practices and contests) a week later.
  • Proposal 15 (passed 374-241-87): Removes the by-law directing the IHSA to implement a football scheduling system for regular-season varsity games, impacting the current ability for schools to schedule games AND qualify for the playoffs as it is currently administered.
  • Proposal 17 (passed 244-31-422): Modifies the contest limitations for boys and girls lacrosse to 20 matches in the regular season as opposed to a match and tournament limitation.
  • Proposal 18 (passed 410-85-202): Modifies the team dates limitation in wrestling to a fixed number of dates (25) rather than a combination of dates and tournaments. Modifies the individual match limitation in wrestling to a set number of matches (45) rather than a combination of dates and tournaments.
  • Proposal 19 (passed 343-38-318): Moves the ending date for the girls swimming season limitation one week earlier.
  • Proposal 25 (passed 470-215-16): Permits schools an opportunity to appeal a player ejection when the player was ejected as a result of the misapplication of a playing rule by an official.

Following is a summary of member school participation in the amendment process over the past 10 years.

Year Type of Ballot Proposals on Ballot Schools Voting Percentage Voting
2010-11 online 13 416 of 786 52.9%
2011-12 online 14 500 of 794 63.0%
2012-13 online 11 464 of 802 57.8%
2013-14 online 11 463 of 808 57.3%
2014-15 online/email 6 (3 rejected) 613 of 810 75.7%
2015-16 online/email 3 597 of 811 73.6%
2016-17 online/email 8 589 of 811 72.6%
2017-18  online/email  6 (1 rejected) 609 of 811 75.1%
2018-19  online/email  11  702 of 818  85.8%
2019-20 online/email 11 (1 rejected)  702 of 812 86.5%