Lake County coaches speak out on Proposal 23
Proposal 23 shook the IHSA football world on Tuesday, and some coaches and fans might still be staggering.
Come the 2021 season, the entire high school football landscape in Illinois is expected to have a new look. The main change as a result of Tuesday's vote starts with the IHSA implementing a scheduling system for regular-season varsity games that will determine playoff classes in advance of the season. Schools from each class be placed into 8 geographic groups by the IHSA. The top 4 teams in each of the 8 groups will qualify for the playoffs based on games played within each group.
Here are some initial reactions from Lake County football coaches:
• "I understand both sides of the argument. For us (Lake Zurich), districts should make scheduling nonconference games easier, and our district games won't look drastically different from our NSC schedule. The schedule changes will create some new local rivalries for us. However, I do think districts will create some real challenges for other schools. Rivalries will be lost, travel may be extensive, and competitiveness for may be jeopardized ... I am not sure if there is a perfect solution. Change is always intimidating. We all need to see how it plays out before making definitive decisions on the effectiveness of this proposal. I do think the larger concern facing Illinois football is participation numbers, which is being lost due to the district debate." -- Lake Zurich coach Luke Mertens
• "I am happy that Proposal 23 passed. It was becoming increasingly difficult to schedule nonconference games. We now have some flexibility in scheduling and will play schools that are similar to us (in enrollment size)." -- Libertyville coach Mike Jones
• "For our program at Lakes, and what I am assuming will be our district, I'm excited. I think it creates a good competitive district for us top to bottom. For the state of Illinois overall, I think it will pose some issues for some that may not have been completely thought out. I don't know if there is a solution to fix all and be great for all, either. It'll be interesting to see how it all shakes out. From what I see for our school and predicted district, though, I think it will be good." -- Lakes coach Jordan Eder
• "There are too many negatives outweighing the positives. It really is mind-boggling that (the IHSA) would even think that this could work. ... Selfishly, from our perspective, I'm fine with it. It's better competition (with potentially Lake Forest, Vernon Hills and Deerfield in the same district with Antioch). But backing up, looking at a big-picture perspective of (for example) Plainfield schools being in a district with Edwardsville and schools like that, it's not good for football." -- Antioch coach Brian Glashagel
• "I don't like having football placed outside a school's conference. Too many unanswered questions in the proposal (lower levels, how many lower levels, all-conference teams, etc). We will adjust." -- Wauconda coach Dave Mills
• "I like it because we get to compete against schools our size, but I could see how some other school would not like it. For us, it evens out the playing field." -- Vernon Hills coach Bill Bellecomo