Football districting plan rescinded

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The Illinois High School Association rescinded a previous plan to change its football scheduling playoff format that would have divided the state into districts based on geography and school enrollment. 

In December 2018, IHSA member schools voted 324-307-69 for narrow approval of a proposal to implement the district scheduling system starting in 2021, essentially ending conference play for football.

Under this district format, each school’s final seven games of the season were to be scheduled by the IHSA. Schools would schedule the first two games on their own, but those would not have impacted playoff eligibility.

However, IHSA schools voted this plan down last month through online balloting.

IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson said the matter will continue to be discussed going forward.

This latest news from the IHSA was met with mixed reaction locally.

Similar to other Mississippi Valley Conference schools, Waterloo High School Athletic Director Mitch North voted in favor of the IHSA’s move to rescind the district plan.

“I was not in favor of going to districts in the first place and voted in favor of doing away with the plan this year,” North said. “I don’t like the idea of giving away control of our schedule and I also didn’t like that districts would break up our conference where we have reasonable travel and strong relationships. I understand why some schools would be in favor of districts, but I don’t see the benefit for us or the other schools in the MVC.”

Columbia High School Athletic Director Scott Horner, who is also head football coach of the Eagles, expressed concern for the future of Cahokia Conference football.

“For our football conference, the district format would have been beneficial,” Horner said. “There is just too much of a gap in enrollment currently and the district format would have leveled the field a bit.  Without the district format, it is concerning what the small schools in our conference will decide to do for football. 

Horner likes that conferences and schools maintain control of their scheduling without the district format.

“I also feel that giving local control back to the conferences and individual schools is beneficial, so now schools/teams can do what they want with their schedules and not give complete control to the IHSA.”

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