IHSA football changes will take time

SPRINGFIELD — High school football in Illinois is changing. Eventually.

High schools across the state recently voted 324 to 307 to move from a conference system for football to a district system.

The first thing that they need to do is wait.

“In order to get out schools to know which class they will be in [we need] to get accurate numbers that will be used for districts,” said Matt Troha, assistant executive director of the Illinois High School Association. “First off, our enrollments are going to change. They’re going to go up and down over the next two years.”

And secondly, he said, some small schools in the state may drop football by then.

The change to districts starts in the 2020-21 school year.

Troha said the IHSA has to figure out how to group more than 500 high school football teams into eight districts in each of the state’s eight classes.

“We know there will be eight districts in each class, there will be four qualifies from each district,” he said. “But how are the playoffs matched-up? Is just that District A plays District B, and the four plays one? We’ll have to figure out the formula for that.”

Troha said he understands there is a lot of passion around high school football in the state. And he understands that not every school is happy with the change.

But he said Illinois high schools, not the Illinois High School Association, drove this process and approved the change.

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