MAC ON SPORTS: IHSA MEMBERS VOTE TO RESCIND BYLAW TO CREATE FOOTBALL DISTRICTS

J. Thomas McNamara

As expected, the Illinois High School Association members voted to rescind its bylaw to create football districts, starting with the 2021 season.

   The margin was 374 to rescind, 241 against and 87 abstentions.  This was a wider margin than last year’s vote to create the districts which was 324-307.
   The outcome did not surprise Sangamon Valley’s Michael Lee, who wrote the Decatur Tribune, “As I have said before, I think what we have now is great.  Schools should have the ability to choose who they want to play and what makes football different from ALL (his caps for emphasis) other sports, is all regular season games for post-season.”
   In a statement, IHSA’s Craig Anderson said, “There is incredible passion for high school football in our state, and the subject of football district scheduling has been no exception.  Many coaches and communities were excited about the prospect of district scheduling when the vote passed a year ago, just like many are excited today that it will ultimately not occur in 2021.
   “We do not expect the discussion surrounding football regular-season scheduling and the playoff structure to dissipate, so we will be charged with continuing to facilitate discussion and ideas among our member school coaches and administrators.”
   For more background on this matter, read this week’s print edition of the Decatur Tribune where my Irish Stew forecasted this outcome based on comments from coaches of eight of the 12 schools it covers each fall.
   Sangamon Valley’s Michael Lee offered this insight, “From the people I have talked to I believe it will not go to districts. Now I feel that a lot of people voted for it just because it is something new but then when they actually saw what the districts might be they felt like that was not as good as what we have now.  Everyone seems to love the Saturday night of the playoff pairings and fact that all nine games mean something during the regular season why would we want to screw that up.”
   LSA’s Jordan Hopman said, “I believe it will be rescinded by a fairly wide margin. I think the whole process was a bit unusual to begin with and came at a perfect time. I’d say there is little to no chance we see districts in Illinois for a while.”
   Steve Kirk, Argenta-Oreana’s head coach, echoed similar thoughts, “I believe that districts will be rescinded after this vote.  I’m not sure that the people that voted for it liked where they stood following the IHSA mock districts that came out in the summer.  In my opinion it will be rescinded pretty handily and it will go back to the way it was before until a proposal that works better for all members comes out at some point.”
   Eisenhower’s Steve Thompson said, “The feeling I get is that the vote will reverse the district proposal that passed last year and it likely will not even be a close vote.”
   Brent Weakly, coach of the Class 1A runnerup Central A&M Raiders, opined, “My guess is that it stays the same as it is now.”
   Maroa-Forsyth’s Josh Jostes responded, “will be withdrawn.”
   Warrensburg-Latham’s Aaron Fricke commented, “I think they will end up eliminating it due to travel concerns.  I was very disappointed to see the IHSA legislative board remove the proposal to expand the playoff field, which in my opinion would have solved many of the issues schools have.
   Mount Zion’s Patrick Etherton proffered, “It will be interesting to see how the vote turns out this week.  I have heard that schools that voted for districts are now voting against districts and schools that voted against are now voting for districts.  I think like the last vote – it will be very close.”
   This is a developing story which I will have more on in a future print edition of the Decatur Tribune.

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