IHSA football proposal sacked

  • Written by Jeff Vorva




We won’t be saying goodbye to Catholic League football.

We won’t be saying “see ya later’’ to the Southwest Suburban.

Nor will we be saying “so long’’ to the South Suburban.

The East Suburban Catholic and Metro Suburban are safe, too.

And it could stay that way for a while.

The Illinois High School Association on Tuesday announced that the general membership rejected Proposal 10 by a 395-212 count.

 The proposal would have eliminated conference play and would have implemented a district system for the regular season based on enrollment and geography. If it passed, it would have been the most dramatic change to the high school football landscape in history and established conferences would have been axed including the Catholic League, which is 100 years strong.

So for the next couple of years, the football in the state is status quo.

The issues that surrounded the reason for the proposal, however, remain. Scheduling nightmares and constant changes among conferences and league are still abundant. Schools creatively scheduling easy non-conference opponents in order to rack up victories to qualify for the postseason also has posed problems.

Tim O’Halloran, who runs the website covering IHSA football and recruiting and is also a football expert on Comcast SportsNet Chicago, wasn’t in favor of the proposal but thinks changes are needed.

“The coaches I talked to who were in favor of it are disappointed because they thought this was a viable solution,” he said. “But when they put this proposal out there and showed what it would look like, I think it scared the bejesus out of a lot of people.

“You saw where Joliet schools were in the same district as the St. Louis area. You had Mt. Carmel playing a bunch of Chicago Public League schools that are located near them. There was a lot of weird stuff out there that may have spooked some schools off. But the scheduling and conferences are still an issue.’’

It’s possible a modified and changed proposal could be up for votes in future years. One thing O’Halloran doesn’t want to see is the playoff structure used by the state to the east of Illinois. Indiana allows all of its football teams into the postseason.

“I don’t even want to go there,” O’Halloran said. “It would alleviate some scheduling issues but we would become Indiana and in my book that would not be a good thing. Then you are just making a complete mockery of your playoff system. I know everyone is eligible for the postseason in basketball and baseball and all of the other sports, but football is different.

“It’s totally different and it should be handled that way.”

Some coaches, including St. Laurence’s Harold Blackmon, were hoping it wouldn’t pass.

“The Catholic League has been a staple of high school football for a very long time,” he said before the vote, which took place in December. “To destroy that is very unfair.”

It’s one of the few proposals to make the ballot to get rejected. Three of the six proposals on the IHSA ballot were not passed this year. The last time a proposal failed to pass was in 2008-09.

From 1999-200 through 2013-14, 133 out of 135 proposals were passed.

A summary of this year’s other proposals:

Proposal 1 (passed 370-239): Allows the Board of Directors to approve international programs that do not appear on the list of the Council on Standards for International Educational Travel (CSIET), and thereby confer eligibility to students in those programs

§  Proposal 5 (passed 375-234): Removes the mid-summer "dead week" provision that was approved last year.

§  Proposal 15 (passed 489-96): Moves the date of the first contest of the girls tennis season four days earlier, to Thursday of Week 7.

§  Proposal 17 (rejected 313-291): Would have removed the season limitation currently in place for Scholastic Bowl.

§  Proposal 18 (rejected 305-299): Would have increased the contest limitation for Scholastic Bowl from 18 dates to 30 dates.

A total of 613 of 810 member schools (75.7 percent) participated in the amendment balloting, a significant increase from last year's 57.3 percent. A new email voting procedure is credited with turning out the vote, yielding the second-highest percentage since 1997.