High School Football

New IHSA rules put limits on full-contact football practice

The IHSA Board of Directors on Monday approved new restrictions on high school football practices.

The changes came from the recommendation of a special sports medicine advisory committee and football advisory committee to limit the hours and days per week that teams can conduct full-contract drills.

Football teams will be limited to 90 minutes of full-contact practice spread out over a maximum of three days each week. The limit takes effect each August on the Monday preceding the first game.

A second change limits full-contact drills to one practice during preseason two-a-days.

The IHSA will host webinars to provide more information and address the policy changes with member schools.

Other changes approved by the board effect post-season formats and player eligibility:

▪  Beginning in 2015-16, team-bracketed sport teams (baseball, basketball, soccer, volleyball) in class 1A and 2A, as well as those outside of Chicago in Class 3A and 4A, will now be assigned to two sub-sectionals (as opposed to four Regionals) that feed into a sectional site. Each sub-sectional will be seeded and the top two seeds sent to different regional sites. The competing regional site of the remaining teams in each sub-sectional will be determined by geography.

In Class 3A and Class 4A team-bracketed sports, teams will continue to be placed in the current sectional complex format.

▪  In the IHSA Football Playoffs, Class 1A-6A will be seeded in two geographic brackets 1-16, eliminating the previous mileage component within the Policy that would change the bracket to quadrants if certain travel mileage distances were exceeded. Class 7A and 8A will now be seeded 1-32.

▪  The board approved a recommendation to open the lacrosse entry process to schools in August. If 65 schools enter to participate in the boys lacrosse state series and 40 schools enter to participate in the girls lacrosse state series, the IHSA will begin to formulate a process for hosting an inaugural state tournament.