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State legislature takes on the IHSA

Published: Wednesday, April 9, 2014 1:54 p.m. CDT

I find the ongoing Illinois High School Association vs. the state legislature debate to be quite amusing.

Representative Chapa LaVia authored House Resolution 895, suggesting the state legislature take a close look at the IHSA operations, even suggesting that it should take things over, citing “accountability” and “transparency.”

The resolution passed by a 55-51 vote, which calls for the IHSA to meet with the Education Committee for hearings.

In a nutshell, the state of Illinois is calling the IHSA a money-mongering organization, which dabbles in sports on the side. It would seem the state legislature might want some of the IHSA’s pie.

IHSA Executive Director Marty Hickman said in a press release, “We felt unfairly targeted with the way this all came about. But what’s done is done. The hearings are going to happen, so our mindset now is the sooner the better. We want to show the representatives how we operate and clear up any misconceptions they may have.”

While I would say some of the IHSA moves/decisions come with dollar signs in mind — i.e. putting March Madness up for bid in 1996 when Peoria landed the state boys basketball tournament out from underneath Champaign and the recurrent up for bids since, contract with an out of state outfit to take and sell its images from the state tournaments and it’s new contract with Wilson to become the official ball of the IHSA (bye-bye Badan) — it hardly is.

The IHSA does a fine job at what it does, putting athletes around the state on the playing fields. They have 816 member schools, more than 400,000 participating students in sports and activities each year, around 30,000 coaches and teams and 37 interscholastic sports/activities it oversees.

It is certainly not an easy job and the IHSA has been a punching bag for many around the state, including school officials and coaches and media over the years. But it is not the shady outfit the state legislature seems to want to make it come off to be.

Has the state of Illinois seen its own budget lately? I would think with the state’s budget in shambles, the legislature would far be more suited to worry about its own problems in Springfield and allow the IHSA to govern and manage the state of the sports in Illinois.

• Pay it Forward: I was deeply saddened to hear about the death of Michael Collins, an ISU senior who was killed March 29 in an accident last week in Normal at the hands of a drunk driver who ran a red light. Michael is the son of an old teammate and friend of mine, Jim Collins, head baseball coach at Normal U-High. They shared a love of the game and for their Lord.

Michael seems to have been just an outstanding young man with a strong faith. He chose to become an organ donor and has helped to save or enhance the lives of more than 200 people with his generous giving.

There is a Facebook page honored Michael’s life, encouraging others to “Pay it Forward for Michael Collins,” and do random acts of kindness for others, just the way he did. That’s the way we should all live our lives, just like Michael.

Kevin Hieronymus is the BCR Sports Editor. Contact him at

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