IHSA member schools vote to rescind district proposal
The state has spoken ... again.
The IHSA announced Tuesday that after a vote by the IHSA member schools, the district proposal for football voted in just last year will be rescinded.
In other words, the regular season and playoffs will remain as is for football with the passage of bylaw amendment proposal 15.
"I'm glad because it's what best for football, not just what's best for Antioch," said Sequoits football coach Brian Glashagel. "I've got friends who coach in other parts of the state and in the city, and it's not right what would have happened with them."
By a margin of 374 in favor, 241 against and 87 no-opinion votes, the member schools voted to remove the year-old bylaw directing the IHSA to implement a schedule that would eliminate football conferences and instead create eight or nine-team "districts" based on enrollment and geography.
Had districts gone forward, the new system would have debuted in 2021.
"We were prepared either way but I'm grateful the vote went that way," said Batavia football coach Dennis Piron, whose school last year began play in the eight-member DuKane Conference. "We're in a good (Class) 7A conference with schools that have strong football participation. Losing tradition and rivalries is never good."
Proponents of the district proposal aimed to reduce the struggle to schedule nonconference football games due to the desire among schools to find opponents that make it easier to reach the playoffs. Another goal of the district system was to eliminate the conference shuffling that's occurred when schools leave one league for another partly to improve their chances to qualify for the playoffs.
The DuPage Valley Conference was one of the leagues signed on to the district proposal, which was voted in last year by a margin of 324-307 with 69 no-opinion votes.
The DVC has been rocked in recent years by conference shuffling that reduced its numbers to five until DeKalb joined this school year. Naperville Central, Naperville North and Waubonsie Valley all had to travel out of state to fill their football schedules in the fall.
"Very disappointed, especially with the shortsighted vision of many teams in terms of scheduling," said Naperville North football coach Sean Drendel. "We can't find a Week 3 or Week 9 game that's within 350 miles of us.
"It's unfortunate," he said. "I thought Illinois would have gone along with what so many other states are already doing (with districts)."
The number of district opponents grew in the last year after "mock districts" were released. Opponents feared the destruction of tradition that's been established in conferences like the Mid-Suburban League and West Suburban Conference.
The WSC, for example, has 14 schools spread among three different football classes. Under districts, historic matchups likely would have disappeared.
Opponents also had concerns about increased travel in many district groupings. In addition, the district proposal gave no directive for lower-level football.
Status quo, it seems, was preferable to the unknown of districts.
"I appreciate the tradition of the Mid-Suburban League and I'm happy we'll be able to keep that going," said Barrington football coach Joe Sanchez. "We'll see what comes down the road but for now it's nice to know that things will stay the same."