IESA Headlines

Tony Ingold Re-Elected as President of IESA Board of Directors; Board Acts on Committee Recommendations; Discusses Ejection Penalties

During a very busy quarterly meeting, the IESA Board of Directors elected officers, acted on committee recommendations in several activities, discussed the penalties for coaches/adults ejected for unsportsmanlike conduct in IESA activities, and tied up other loose ends at its regularly scheduled meeting that was held on January 22, 2016.

At the conclusion of the January meeting, Tony Ingold, Superintendent at East Peoria District #86 was re- elected President of the IESA Board of Directors. Also re-elected to officer positions were Chris Graham, Principal at St. Joseph who will serve as Vice-President and Dr. Kenny Lee, Superintendent of the Iroquois County Unit District #9 (Watseka) who will serve as the Secretary-Treasurer.

Craig Anderson, the new IHSA Executive Director, was introduced to the Board. He addressed the Board on a couple of issues facing the IHSA.

Penalties for Unsportsmanlike Ejections

The Board held a lengthy discussion on the penalties for coaches and fans who are ejected from contests for unsportsmanlike conduct. The IESA Sportsmanship Committee recommended to the Board that persons ejected from contests could face additional penalties beyond what is already listed in the IESA Handbook if they are ejected. The Board did not approve that recommendation. "The main reason the Board did not approve the recommendation as presented was that we simply felt the penalty for being ejected needs to be detailed and more stringent," said IESA Board President Tony Ingold. "The sportsmanship committee's recommendation provided a springboard for discussion by the Board but unfortunately it did not spell out what the penalties would be when adults are ejected. To that end, in my role as President, I have asked each member of the IESA Board of Directors to discuss sportsmanship and potential penalties for ejections with the schools in their respective divisions. We will then bring those comments and concerns to the April meeting where we will once again discuss sportsmanship and perhaps adopt a new by-law regarding ejections that may require coaches to serve a longer penalty if they are ejected." President Ingold instructed the administrative staff to develop a survey that the Board members can share with the schools in their division to get their views on this topic.

Activity Committee Action

Baseball -- The Board received the report of the Baseball Advisory Committee. Three recommendations were approved--The time schedule for the Class 3A games on the Saturday of the state finals will now be the same as Class 2A. Class 1A will start their games at 9:30 a.m. while 2A and 3A will start their contests at 10:00 a.m.; a policy was established for the completion of a regular season game that is suspended; and information will be added to the Term and Conditions that will not allow pitchers to warm-up from the pitching mound when a their team is taking its timed infield. A recommendation to allow a sectional host school to hire a 3rd umpire at the host school's expense was not approved.

Cross-Country -- The only recommendation from the advisory committee was approved. The final entry deadline for a school to enter the IESA state cross country series will now be August 1. Previously, the final entry deadline was August 26.

Softball -- The Board did not approve a recommendation to allow games to begin a week earlier in the standardized calendar. They did approve a recommendation to allow one day for online ranking (seeding) of regional teams. This will allow the brackets to be posted one day earlier and give schools an additional day to prepare for first round games. The Board also approved that schools hosting the play-in games of the regional will hire the umpires for the play-in game.

Speech -- The Board modified a committee recommendation regarding performances eligible for the "Judge's Choice" award. With the modification, only performances that receive a Division I rating are eligible for the Judge's Choice ranking. Also approved were minor clarifications to the individual limitations, small group team improv, and duet events. Those changes will be detailed in the Terms and Conditions. The Board did not approve a recommendation to allow contestants may stand on chairs during a performance. Kathy Brake, speech coach at Fisher, was selected to receive the Distinguished Service Award.

Golf -- The Board approved clarifications to the Circle 12 rule for girls and that the Circle 12 rule will only apply at the sectional level. Participating schools will need to inform their golfers that should a golfer hold a "season pass" for the course where the sectional is being held, it will not be honored for sectional level play. The final entry deadline will be moved back two weeks. Schools need to remind their golfers that there is a 14 club maximum to start their round. Schools will need to designate all coaches for the sectional and state by Friday of week 9 in the standardized calendar.

Other Business Items

Scholar Attitude: The 18th annual Scholar Attitude Award luncheon will be Tuesday, May 3, 2016 at 11:00 a.m. the DoubleTree Hotel in Bloomington. Only one student from each of the 15 membership divisions will be selected. The deadline for receipt of nominations in the IESA Office is Feb. 22, 2016. Judges will meet in the IESA Office March 29 to select the winners.

Division Meetings: The Board heard a report regarding "attendance" at the required Division Meetings that were conducted online for in the fall. Only 14 schools were placed on probation for failure to attend one of the online meetings. All schools that failed to attend a meeting in 2014 attend a meeting this past fall so there are no schools that will be suspended for failure to attend in two consecutive years.

Treasurer's Report: The Board received and accepted the treasurer's report for the fiscal period ending December 31, 2015.

Board Meetings: There are two regular meetings remaining in the 2015-16 school year. One is scheduled April 8, 2016, and the other is scheduled June 17, 2016.

Home School Student Eligibility: The Board reiterated its position that students who are home schooled are only eligible for the public school they would regularly attend. Students who attend a private school for a part of the school day and are home schooled for a part of the schooled day are also only eligible for the public school they would regularly attend.

A.D./Speech/Scholastic Bowl Workshops in 2016: The annual athletic director workshop will be held on Friday, September 9, 2016; the speech coaches workshop will be held Friday, September 16; and the Scholastic Bowl coaches workshop will be held Friday, November 4. All three workshops will be held in Bloomington at the Double Tree Hotel.

Out-of-State-Transfers: Effective immediately, the following Q & A will be added to the interpretation of By-Law 2.060:

Q: May a student who plays girls volleyball in the fall in Missouri play girls volleyball for an IESA member school in the winter if her family moves from Missouri to Illinois?

A: Yes. The IESA Board of Directors has determined that the season in which a sport is played in another state is a circumstance beyond the control of the student, the family, and the IESA member school.

Final Entry Deadlines and Co-op Deadlines: The Board approved new final entry deadlines for most activities and new deadlines for the submission of co-op applications. In general, the final entry deadlines are earlier than previous years and the co-op application deadlines are later. Listed below are the new dates for final entry deadlines and co-op applications:

Sport  Final Entry Deadline  Co-op Application Deadline 
Girls Softball  July 1  July 30 
Boys Baseball  July 1  August 7 
Cross-Country  August 1  August 7 
Girls Basketball  August 1  September 1 
Boys Basketball  September 1  October 20 
Girls Volleyball  October 15  December 1 
Scholastic Bowl  November 1  January 5 
Track & Field  November 1  March 1 
Boys Wrestling  November 1  December 1 
Cheerleading  December 1  November 11 

IESA Coaching Education Requirements: The Board held discussion on the current IESA coaching education requirements. President Ingold instructed the administrative staff to prepare some revisions to the current requirements and present those at the April meeting.

Eligibility for Children of Staff Members Attending Tuition Free on ISBE Waiver: In April, 2015 the Board clarified the By-Law that will only allow children of certified staff members who work in a given district but live out of the district to be eligible to participate without paying tuition provided the proper ISBE waiver has been obtained. A request was received from a member school to apply the policy to children of all staff members. The Board did not approve the request.

Division Reports

At each meeting of the Board of Directors time is devoted for each board member to report on communication with and requests from the member schools in the member's division. In addition, Board members also may make observations regarding the operation of the Association. Following is a report of those from the January 22 meeting:

Division B: Mr. Buresh received an inquiry concerning the playing of the girls basketball and girls volleyball seasons. The Board has addressed this situation many times and they continue to maintain that schools who want to participate in the IESA state series in a given activity must adhere to the IESA beginning and ending dates of practice and competition; and commented on the sportsmanship letter that was sent by Mr. Endsley to the membership

Division D: Dr. Early was contacted about the enrollment splits. No action was taken.

Division F: Mr. Frost received an inquiry about the current seeding procedures and had some questions on the concussion requirements which are going into effect with the 2016-2017 school year.

Division G: Dr. Lee had a request from a member school for IESA to assign regional officials; a question about the overlap of the girls softball and girls basketball seasons; and also commented on the sportsmanship letter that was sent by Mr. Endsley to the membership.

Division I: Mr. Stewart was contacted about seeding procedures. No action was taken.

Division O: Dr. Stuart had a question concerning the possibility of allowing the baseball season to start earlier. No action was taken.

Comments from IESA Executive Director Steve Endsley:

ASSIGNING OFFICIALS: Over the years, the issue of IESA assigning officials at the regional level in basketball has often been brought before the Board. As an Association, we have refrained from doing so for one main reason---there are no mandated regional playing dates---only a range of dates in which the regional must be held. The standardized calendar allows for the basketball regionals to be played over the course of generally 4-5 days. The host school, depending on their gymnasium availability, then sets the schedule for their regional. For the Association to assign officials, we would have to set the exact dates and times of the regional so when we contract officials for the contests, we would be able to give the official a definite date and time. Schools are very reluctant to have mandated playing dates when gym space is always a concern. As soon as we bring up mandated playing dates, schools balk because we are told they have to have some gymnasium flexibility for other events in their school. To that end, the responsibility of securing regional officials has been left up to each host school.

SEEDING: Another recurring subject which schools are contacting their Board member on is seeding. By and large, online seeding has been very successful. It has allowed the regional contests to be seeded using today's technology and eliminated the traditional seed meetings that were attended by coaches for many, many years. Since the IESA started online seeding, the process has certainly saved schools thousands of dollars in mileage reimbursement and allowed coaches to have one less night away from home. There are certainly some factors with online seeding that all have to be done correctly for the process to work smoothly. It starts with each school correctly entering their won/loss record into the system. If a school fails to report a given game or enters an incorrect score or result, the system begins to break down. We continue to urge the schools to list their entire schedule in the system at the beginning of each season and then update the result after each game. This saves the coach from entering all the results when the online record deadline is approaching and hopefully will result in accurate results being posted. That is one of the complaints we receive---that a given school lists an incorrect score or reported the win or loss incorrectly. I don't know how to fix that. We rely on the schools to report their information accurately. It is simply wrong to intentionally fail to list a given game or to intentionally misrepresent a final score. A school should feel a moral obligation to report their game results accurately. The next step in the online seeding process is for schools to actually seed teams in as fair of a manner as possible. Again, this is something that schools should feel a moral obligation to do and not intentionally seed a school lower (or higher) than where they deserve. When a school does that (and don't forget, IESA can see all the ranking given by all schools) it truly can change the seedings. When there is a school that has a record of 16-2 and they are seeded last in a given regional and there are schools with losing records seeded higher, it's obvious the coach who gave that last seed to the 16-2 school isn't playing the game fairly. It is only in these situations that IESA will review the seedings and make adjustments if necessary. This is time consuming and often leads to frustrated coaches and administrators. If we continue to see intentional unfair seeds given and it becomes a persistent problem, then one possible solution is to eliminate the seeding process and randomly assign the regional pairings. This is not something we want to do. But, it would eliminate the intentional incorrect seeding that has occurred. It really is pretty simple---list your correct season schedule, the correct results, and then seed the teams fairly. If all schools would do this, the online seeding process will work very well.

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