IHSA reverses football districting

Ethan Andres, Editor

Illinois High School Association (IHSA) announced on Dec. 16, 2019 that the plan to having football games scheduled via districts instead of conference, starting in 2021, has been rescinded.

In December 2018, high schools across the state voted on the districts, and a narrow majority voted in favor of it. However, it only took a year for that to change, as schools voted 374-241 in favor of reversing the decision.

This impacts BHS because they will now remain in the NIC-10 for football games in 2021 and beyond, rather than playing teams within their class across the state.

I think IHSA and the high schools in Illinois made the correct decision. Last school year, in Issue #3 of the print version of The Buccaneer, I wrote an editorial addressing why districts were not a good idea.

Reasons I had included broken rivalry games, longer distances to travel, and potential future expansions for other sports.

High schools in Illinois also saw these drawbacks, as well as other factors such as more public schools playing private schools, potential scheduling difficulties, and changes in lower levels of football.

While the districts were rescinded last month, there were still over 200 high schools in Illinois to vote in favor of the districts. And it was just 13 months ago that the majority voted in favor of districts. It remains a possibility that a push for football districts continues, but there is obviously a long way to go.

According to high school athletic websites of these states, many other states in the country use district formats for high school football, such as large ones like Texas, California, and Florida. Another reason some schools voted in favor of the district format is to even the competition.

Overall, I believe that football should stick with conference play and that the high schools and IHSA were correct in rescinding the districts.