High school football teams in Illinois will now compete under predetermined "districts" as opposed to self-created conferences after the IHSA voted 324-307 (with 69 abstaining) to pass the proposition.
Schools will compete in eight- or nine-team districts that will include schools of the same classification (1A, 2A, etc.) and the top four in each district will advance to the playoffs. Weeks 1 and 2 will be open for schools to schedule as they see fit, although results won't count toward the playoff race.
Many proponents say it will help prevent continual conference realignment, schedule manipulation and scheduling pinches as schools seek to reach the magical six-win plateau (and thus an automatic playoff bid).
Many detractors say that it will deflate traditional rivalries (SHG and Rochester's annual matchup will no longer have playoff implications, for example), create extreme travel distances and put teams in groupings that don't fit their ability.
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WAND COVERAGE: Visit this "nuts and bolts" piece by Gordon Voit.
From the IHSA website:
"Directs the IHSA to implement a football scheduling system for regular-season varsity games that would involve the following: (a) a 9-week regular season, (b) playoff classes determined in advance of the season; (c) schools from each class placed into 8 geographic groups by the IHSA Office to play a round-robin schedule; (d) the remaining games on the regular season schedule to be arranged by the individual schools at their discretion; (e) the top 4 teams in each of the 8 groups qualify for the playoffs, based on games played within each group. This proposal will take effect starting with the 2021 football season." [Complete IHSA summary]