Changes coming to high school football - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Changes coming to high school football

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WSIL -- The Illinois High School Association (IHSA) approved a proposal on Tuesday to change who and where football teams could play. 

The new guidelines say:

  • IHSA football playoff classes will be determined before the season begins.
  • Schools from each class are placed into eight geographic groups by the IHSA Office to play a round-robin schedule. 
  • The remaining games during the regular season schedule will be arranged by the individual schools at their discretion.
  • The top four teams in each of the eight groups quality for the playoffs

The proposal could possibly affect budgeting and travel for schools and parents, depending on where the IHSA draws the district lines. 

Football teams and schools won't see the changes take place until the 2021 season. 

Currently, high school football teams are in conferences and then placed in classes based on enrollment size. 

Vienna High School Athletic Director David Hill says he is surprised the proposal passed and thinks this new system could create traveling problems.

"With a lot of southern Illinois schools being so rural and spread out, having so many different sizes of schools will lead to more travel problems," Hill said.

Hill says that's why Vienna voted no.

In addition to adding districts, the new plan allows the IHSA to schedule each high school's games.

"It's frustrating for most of us here in southern Illinois to give up local control of the schedules," Hill said. "And to have someone two or three hours away make out schedules for everybody."

Not all schools think this decision is bad. Bigger schools like Carbondale and Marion are excited for what's to come in 2021. 

In a statement from Marion High School Athletic Director, Ryan Goodisky:

"We at Marion are happy to hear that Proposal 23 has officially passed. We feel that this will help us with travel, overall budgeting, but most importantly, schedule stability."

Carbondale Athletic Director Mark Albertini agrees.

"Every two years they will base it off your enrollment, geography teams won't have to travel as far," Albertini said.

For Anna-Jonesboro High School, principal and football coach Brett Detering is indifferent on what's to come.

"If you would tell me that our conference would stay together exactly the way it is for the next 20 years, I probably would not be in favor of the districts," Detering said. 

The changes won't start until 2021 and that's why Detering thinks it's too soon to know how the changes will impact student athletes and everyone else. 

"I think the next couple of years are going to be interesting," Detering said. "I think the IHSA needs to try to get some information out as soon as possible."

The IHSA votes once a year on proposals like like this one. 

This year, there were 11 proposals on the list, which all passed. 

Click here to see the list.

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