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J. Thomas McNamara

      The Illinois High School Association Board reviewed correspondence related to IHSA football and the ability to schedule an exhibition game when an opponent forfeits. The Board issued the following statement:
“The IHSA Board recognizes the dilemma that forfeits caused by COVID-19 have created for member schools this year, especially as it relates to the sport of football.
        “We believe it is important to recognize that IHSA by-laws do not allow for exhibition games in any IHSA sport, and because of these rules, the current forfeit procedures have been in place for many years.
        “These rules exist for the benefit of student-athletes, as they place reasonable limitations on contests from a physical safety perspective, while also helping maintain a sensible time balance from an educational perspective.
        “We understand that these policies are now under greater scrutiny, given that the pandemic has created more forfeits, which in turn allows for more rescheduling opportunities.
       “In a normal season, there are traditionally very few football forfeits, and even fewer opportunities to reschedule when they occur. The choice has always existed for a team to accept their forfeit victory or attempt to find a new opponent and accept the result of that new contest.
        “The IHSA Football Playoffs remain unique because they are the only IHSA postseason that a team must qualify for, and the qualification process includes a strength of schedule component that is dependent on each team having one result per week. Despite the unique circumstances of this season, we believe that any exemption to these rules at this moment would have the potential to hinder the football playoff system, while also having far-reaching implications on other IHSA sports,” concluded the statement.
       I will have more on this developing story in a future print edition of the Decatur Tribune. 

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