IHSA sets new rules for 2013 football preseason


The Illinois High School Association has passed new rules that will affect football teams across the state, especially as they prepare for the up-coming season.

It's a heat acclimatization policy. It's meant to ease the football players into the typically very hot and humid practice conditions by limiting practice times and the equipment allowed at each practice, so in effect, it will also take away up to four days of full pad, hitting practices.

To kick off the 2013 football season the Illinois High School Association has new rules for its two-week preseason.

"The biggest difference is they're going to be monitored for how many hours they can actually be out on the field, uh, before there was no monitoring of that whatsoever," said Tim Brilley head football coach at St. Teresa High School.  "Any coach could keep them out there as long as they really wanted."

Now practices will be cut off at three or five hours.

"It's going to force us to make sure that they're taken care of and not thrown into the fire," Brilley said.

Or thrown into pads too quickly.

"Each piece of equipment reduces the body's ability to cool itself," said Dustin Fink athletic trainer at Shelbyville High School.  Fink said now the body will handle the heat better.

"It's a wonderful piece of machinery the body is, so I mean it will be able to adapt but this only helps it," he said.

An agenda from the IHSA also laid out the equipment allowed at each practice and stated that now Sunday will be a mandatory off day.

"We have to take these steps to save and and to keep people safe otherwise we'll lose what we love," Fink said.

"It's about player safety and if we all play by the same rules it's completely fine," said Coach Brilley.

But that also raises questions - how the rules will be enforced. Coach Tim Brilley said it's one of his top concerns.

"If Team A is following the rules and Team B hasn't changed a thing, they're going to have a little bit of a competitive advantage especially going into week one," Brilley said.

So it may be a preseason with different rules but it will be a season with the same excitement.

A loophole in the new regulations: The IHSA doesn't control 25 days of summer practice, so that means teams can be in full pads, tackling, practicing 100 percent all the way up until the regulated preseason practices.  Fink said that it's very possible new rules will be proposed in the future to take away hitting in those 25 days.

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