I used this space last week to discuss a proposal directed toward IHSA football scheduling, opposing the district system implemented last December.
That amendment proposal last Wednesday was among 25 officially submitted to go through the IHSA’s legislative process.
It’s a series of steps that concludes with certain proposals getting voted upon by IHSA member schools in December — same as the district concept in 2018.
Of course, that football scheduling proposal was just one among 25. There are plenty of other interesting amendment ideas on the table.
One that especially caught my eye has been put forth by Carlinville principal Patrick Drew.
The main gist, as stated in the proposal: “Separate class state series tournaments for non-boundaried and boundaried schools in multiple-class sports and activities.”
What does that mean? Schools such as St. Thomas More, Judah Christian, Uni High and Schlarman would be separated from the rest of the area institutions in a majority of IHSA state series events.
“The idea came from witnessing ongoing inequities over the years in athletics and activities as an AD, principal and as a fan,” Drew said. “There is no one specific event that led to this proposal.”
Non-boundaried schools, as the name implies, can pull from a greater pool of academic and athletic talent than a school boundaried by district lines.
This doesn’t instantly lead to greater sports success for non-boundaried programs, though Drew’s proposal states “boundaried schools have defeated non-boundaried schools roughly 44.8 percent of the time in the postseason” since 2014 despite “27.1 percent of the IHSA members” falling into the non-boundaried category.
As of today, the IHSA impacts non-boundaried schools with a 1.65 enrollment multiplier, having them compete up in class even with a smaller student body than others in that class.
Drew’s proposal aims to ax the multiplier in favor of this clause: “In the sports and activities where there are multiple classes, boundaried and non-boundaried member schools will be placed in separate classes.”
“We feel that these changes could generate more interest in high school sports in Illinois,” Drew said. “People have a desire to compete on a level playing field, against like-minded opponents that play under the same set of rules.”
One word that gets thrown around — often recklessly, in my opinion — is recruiting, when it comes to non-boundaried schools and their athletes.
Would the approval of this proposal diminish that term’s usage?
“I suppose it’s a bit naive,” Drew said, “but we would like to think that leveling the playing field would shift the focus more towards the overall school experience and less towards athletics.”