(11-1-21) A total of 14 proposals for amending the Illinois High School Association (IHSA) Constitution and By-Laws were received from principals and official representatives of IHSA member schools.
The IHSA Legislative Commission will review the proposals at its first meeting today (Monday, November 1). Then the proposals will be discussed at town meetings held in person and virtually between November 4 and 17. The Commission will reassemble on Monday, November 22, to decide whether to submit each of the 14 proposals to a vote of the general membership. The final vote by IHSA member schools will take place between November 29 and December 13.
Two new proposals for football highlight the options being considered, expansion and structure of the playoffs. The expansion being proposed is adding 16 teams from the present 32 to 48 teams. Schedules would be 8 regular season games, week 9 would be the 1st playoff games, with the top 16 in each class receiving a bye week.
Non-qualifying schools would finish the season with a final regular season contest.
The proposed change was offered by Chicago Suburban public schools.
The proposal comes a couple of years after the ‘fiasco’ district proposal, that was approved and then voted out before it even started. The addition of 16 teams in the 8 classes would add 128 teams to the playoffs.
- A look back at the roller coaster ride on district votes…Football Districts Rescinded By IHSA Member Schools
Illinois would follow the recent change made in Ohio where they added double the number of teams that qualify for the playoffs in 7 classes. Schools did not vote on the expansion, it was made by a vote of the Board of Directors.
Neighboring Indiana allows every school to play in the playoffs, with a blind draw and no seeding process.
2021-22 Proposal 6 – Football Playoff Structure
Add By-law 5.074
Submitted By: Michael Dwyer, Official Representative – Lockport (Twp.); Robert Rose, Official
Representative – Bolingbrook; Matt Lyke, Official Representative – Flossmoor (Homewood-F.); Jennifer
Doede, Official Representative – Palos Hills (Stagg); Steve Schanz, Official Representative – Orland Park
(Sandburg); Monica Schmitt, Principal – New Lenox (Lincoln-Way West); Steve Provis, Principal – New Lenox
(Lincoln-Way Central); Brian Wright, Principal – Bradley (B.-Bourbonnais); Mark Vanderkooi, Official
Representative – Frankfort (Lincoln-Way East); Robert Nolting, Official Representative – Tinley Park
(Andrew); Filberto Torres, Official Representative – Aurora (East)
Summary of Proposed Changes:
• Expands football playoffs from 32 to 48 teams per class.
• Top 16 teams in each class would receive a bye in week 9.
• Teams would play an 8 game regular season schedule, with a week 9 game option for non-qualifiers with a
determination made to the IHSA during week 8. IHSA to schedule those contests.
Rationale of Submitters:
The discussion of expanding the IHSA football playoffs has certainly been a consistent fixture in recent years. It is
evident a change is needed, however the equitable solution has been difficult to agree on. It is important to recognize
however the impact the “drive for 5” has had on conferences, schools, and communities throughout the state. A need
for change is evident and we feel this is the time and the revision that can lead to a balanced playoff field and reduce
the negative impacts that both conference and non-conference schedules can have.
Simple and straightforward, expanding the field from 32 to 48 teams per class alleviates the pressure football coaches,
athletic directors, and communities feel in striving to qualify for the IHSA post-season. In this model, 3 wins will
qualify a team, allowing them the flexibility to schedule strong non-conference opponents or to play those crossover
Also, this will increase the competitiveness of 1st round games, matching seeded teams 17-48. Mirrors rest o IHSA
post-season with essentially a play in game to get to the 32 team experience. Can create excitement for programs and
communities for multiple rounds.
Non-qualifying teams will also have more competitive final games scheduled, again allowing for competitive
opportunities for both non-qualifiers.
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.
• To restore conference alignment and keep long-time traditions and rivalries alive.
• To help schools impacted by conference realignment by lessening the “regular” season by one game – 1 less
non-con is needed.
• More teams make the playoffs.
• 48 team playoff allows for more competitive 1st round match-ups, as 5-3 could play 4-4, 3-5 could play 6-2,
• Should slow conference shuffling when only 3 wins are needed to make the playoffs.
• Eliminates the drive for 5.
• Opportunity for non-qualifying teams to have a competitive final game and potentially WIN their last game
of the season, a tremendous confidence boost for a community, and program.
• Bye week for top 16 qualifiers.
• Week 9 lower level opportunities.
Add By–law 5.074 – Football Playoff Structure
Starting with the 2022 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 by 10am on Monday of week 8. Should there be an odd number of
non-qualifiers, the team in each class with the lowest playoff points 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
● 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
It is strongly suggested schools try to schedule the week 9 contest. These games can still be very meaningful to teams.
Having an opportunity to win your last game can create excitement for student-athletes, fans, communities, and
coaches. This success can often lead to a carryover affect the following season. Schools will communicate with each
other from the pool and schedule games accordingly. Size/Class level will not be a 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 for
this game but, host school will pay for officials. Home team will be determined by record and/or playoff points. All
factors being equal the schools will work together to decide home/away. If no agreement can be reached,
determination can be via coin toss. This game is individually hosted and there will be no financial support from the
IHSA for this game.
Week 9 Lower Level Games
Lower levels can play week 9 at the discretion of individual schools. Schools will schedule week 9 lower levels on
their own, including officials along with opponents. In some case lower level numbers can be used to balance varsity