IHSA changes pair of football rules

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Bloomington, ILL.—The Illinois High School Association (IHSA) Board of Directors met for its regularly scheduled meeting at the IHSA offices in Bloomington on Monday, where the board approved Advisory Committee Terms and Conditions recommendations from fall sports and activities.

A pair of changes brought forth by the Football Advisory Committee pertaining to playoff qualification were both approved by the board.

The first change adds an additional playoff qualifying tiebreaker to the tie-breaking process. The new tiebreaker will take the tied teams and look at their games against playoff qualifying teams from the regular-season (the number of playoff teams for each tied school would be the same based on a previous tiebreaker). The team who gave up the fewest points in those games will win the tiebreaker. The new tiebreaker will be used prior to using a coin toss to break the tie.

“Given all that the coaches and players put into a season, we never like to see playoff qualifying come down to a coin flip,” said IHSA Assistant Executive Director and football administrator Craig Anderson. “This additional tiebreaker makes a lot of sense and doesn’t create concerns about team’s running up the score that could have existed had the committee decided to use points scored as a tiebreaker.”

In addition, the second recommendation approved by the board was a universal tiebreaker for determining the automatic qualifier from each conference for the IHSA Football Playoffs. The tiebreaker is strictly for determining who receives the automatic berth to the IHSA Playoffs and the individual conferences will still determine their official conference champion or champions.

“This change simplifies the automatic qualifying process and also closes a loophole.” said Anderson. “Currently a conference could have two or more teams tied for the championship, but not all of those teams may be playoff eligible based on their record. It prevents a conference from choosing that school as its automatic qualifier, simply based on the fact that the other two schools have already qualified.”

Additional changes
• Cross Country
Regional to Sectional advancement will be changed to the following:
In Class 1A, the first seven teams and five individuals not members of the first seven placing teams will advance to the sectional competition.
In Classes 2A and 3A, the first six teams and five individuals not members of the first six placing teams will advance to the sectional competition.
• Golf
One assistant coach per team, in addition to the head coach, will be allowed to coach from tee to green during the State Series.
• Tennis
The IHSA administrator shall have the authority to modify scoring methods for matches in the backdraw only to expedite the matches in the event of weather or daylight issues.
• Volleyball
Approved the use of a red, white and blue volleyball as the official volleyball of the IHSA State Series. Schools can use a colored ball (red, white & blue, school colors, etc.) or continue to use a white ball.