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IHSA waiver, ‘success factor’ put on hold

McGunnigal: Only delaying the inevitable

BLOOMINGTON — The new multiplier waiver and “success factor,” expected to be implemented by the Illinois High School Association this upcoming school year has been put on hold for a year.

The IHSA Board of Directors met at its regularly scheduled meeting at the IHSA office in Bloomington on Monday where the Board made the decision to delay the implementation of recently adopted changes to IHSA Policy 17, including the new multiplier waiver and “success factor”, until the 2015-16 school year. The Board initially enacted changes to Policy 17, based on the recommendation of a committee, at its meeting in February.

“The Board believes that the changes approved to Policy 17 in February will help maintain competitive balance in the state,” Wauconda High School Principal and IHSA Board President Dan Klett said in an IHSA release. “However, conversations with school personnel in our respective districts led the Board to believe that more education and feedback was needed before implementing these changes.”

Tom McGunnigal, athletic director for St. Bede Academy, believes this announcement is simply going to delay the inevitable for private schools.

“If it ever comes to a vote and you get a 100 percent of the vote, private school and non-public schools are in a minority,” he said.

The IHSA Board approved a minor change to the “success factor.” The original policy language called for a school to be subject to the “success factor” if they won two state final trophies over a four-year period. Monday’s change will now require that one of the two trophies be won in the two most recent school years in order for a school to be subject to the “success factor.”

McGunnigal believes the private and non-public schools are being unfairly targeted for having success.

“Basically, what it is, private schools, some private schools, win too many state championship, private schools win too many regional champions, too many sectional championships. They have too much success and people don’t like that and they come up with policies like this. It’s just kids playing games,” McGunnigal said

“The thing about the success factor, you’re going to penalize kids who are in the seventh grade, sixth grade, fifth grade, whatever, for what people older than them have accomplished. It’s not the kids that are accomplishing things. It’s going to punish a future generation because kids ahead of you are good. What logic does that come from.”

The Board has charged the IHSA staff with developing a presentation on the changes and how they affect membership, which they will present as a part of the annual Town Hall Meetings held in November.

“The changes to Policy 17 are significant, so it is important that the membership has a strong grasp on their history and implementation,” said IHSA Executive Director Marty Hickman. “The ‘success factor’ will affect about three percent of the membership, but the waiver changes will have a considerably larger impact. It will be a positive step to gain feedback from the membership, as well as to make sure we have a full understanding on how these changes influence other factors, such as classification cutoffs.”

• In other news, the Board approved a recommendation to accept hosting proposals for the IHSA Boys and Girls Basketball State Finals. Proposals will encompass the tournaments from 2015-16 through 2019-20. The Board anticipates announcing the result of the proposals following its meeting in March, 2015.

“In no way does this decision construe that we are unhappy or expecting to change venues for either event. However, our Board feels like it is healthy for the process to open up these bids on occasion,” Hickman said. “Certainly Peoria has written its own chapter in the storied history of March Madness, while innovating with the introduction of the March Madness Experience, an event many other associations from around the country have tried to emulate. Meanwhile, Illinois State University and Redbird Arena have become synonymous with high school girls basketball in the state of Illinois.”

The Board also approved a recommendation to extend the state final hosting proposals for girls golf at Red Tail Run Golf Course (Class A) and Hickory Point Golf Club (Class AA) in Decatur. The extension runs from 2015-2019.

The Board approved a recommendation to form a sub-committee consisting of members of the Athletic Administrators Advisory Committee to review IHSA Policy 18: Grouping and Seeding State Tournament Series. The committee will be charged with reviewing the use of Sub-Sectional formats statewide in team bracketed sports and the football playoff system.

“The move to true geographic regional assignments occurred about a decade ago in response to school administrators looking to cut travel costs when gas prices were hitting all-time highs,” Hickman said. “ Throughout the years, there have certainly been isolated instances where schools have voiced frustration over a regional’s perceived strength or lack thereof. Over the past year or so, that voice has grown louder from conferences and schools around the state. The Board believes that it is sensible to have a committee review those policies and make a recommendation for how we create postseason assignments moving forward.”

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