Proposal to change IHSA football scheduling, playoff format fails

Sam Knox
By Herald-Whig
Posted: Nov. 27, 2017 12:01 am Updated: Nov. 27, 2017 11:55 pm

QUINCY -- No changes will be made to the Illinois High School Association football scheduling and playoff formats in the next calendar year.

A proposal sent to the IHSA Legislative Commission earlier this month was not sent to all member schools to be voted on in December. The proposal suggested moving to an eight-game schedule and doubling the number of playoff teams from 32 to 64.

"It was to shorten the season with the anticipation we'd change our playoff setup," said Sam Knox, assistant executive director at the IHSA. "At this point, it's a non-issue."

The immediate reaction to doubling the number of teams making the playoffs suggests the proposal is intended to let every school into the playoffs. In Missouri, all schools compete in the football districts.

Knox, however, said that's not the case.

"It's not based on the principle of allowing every team in the playoffs," Knox said. "It's based on the principle teams are having trouble finding teams to fill their schedule. Conferences are changing and changing frequently because teams are looking for places where they can get five wins."

Knox said under the proposal, teams could be eligible for the playoffs with losing records, which could deter schools from switching conferences. The moving of conferences has created challenges for schools in the states to fill schedules, especially area teams like Quincy Notre Dame and West Hancock that were part of the West Central Conference, which now only has three teams.

"I know schools are becoming more and more frustrated by trying to put together a football schedule," Knox said. "It's really hard in some parts of the state. You have to be very selective with who you play in football because everyone right now wants five wins and make the playoffs."

The proposal was one of 28 sent to the Legislative Commission this year. Only six of those proposals were sent to be voted on in December.

Had the proposal been sent to member schools, a simple majority vote in December would have been adopted.

Knox said it's likely similar proposals will be submitted in the future.

"It's a democratic process," he said. "For some reason, the football one didn't make it out, and someone might make a new proposal next year and they'll say, ‘Hey, that sounds like a good idea. Let's give it a shot.'"