IESA Headlines

Tony Ingold Re-Elected as President of IESA Board of Directors; Baseball Pitch Count Limitations Approved; Chess Finals and Golf Finals to Remain in Peoria

During a very busy quarterly meeting, the IESA Board of Directors approved new pitching limitations that are based on a pitch count rather than an inning limitation; elected officers, approved contracts to keep the chess and golf finals in Peoria; acted on committee recommendations in several activities, and tied up other loose ends at its regularly scheduled meeting that was held on January 20, 2017.

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 Mr. Joe Buresh, Superintendent of the Annawan School District who will serve as the Secretary-Treasurer.

Baseball Pitch Count Limitation

The Board approved the recommendation by the Baseball Advisory Committee to change the pitching limitation rule that is currently in place from a maximum of 7 innings in one day to a pitch count limitation with mandatory rest between pitching appearances based on the number of pitches thrown on a given day. The new rules will go into effect starting with the fall 2017 season. The change follows the mandate from the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) that high schools across the country institute pitch count limitations beginning with the 2017 spring season. Click here for the limitations that the Illinois High School Association has approved. "The IESA baseball advisory committee received feedback from a number of middle school/jr. high coaches to set the pitch count limitation," said IESA Executive Director Steve Endsley. "Even though we have had a pitch limitation in place for the last 30-35 years, it was based on a seven (7) inning maximum limitation per day. Obviously, there were times in the course of seven innings, when a pitcher might throw an inordinate amount of pitches and still be in compliance with our rule as it was based on innings and not actual pitches. Our new rule is much safer for young pitchers and goes a long way to protecting the health of our student-athletes. The IESA pitch count limitation is fewer pitches than what is allowed at the IHSA level as it should be." The new IESA pitch count limitation allows a pitcher to throw a maximum of 90 pitches in one day. If a pitcher throws 66-90 pitches in one day, four days of rest must follow; if a pitcher throws 51-65 pitches in one day, three days of rest must follow; if a pitcher throws 36-50 pitches in one day, two days of rest must follow; if a pitcher throws 21-35 pitches in one day, one day of rest must follow; and if a pitcher throws 1-20 pitches in a day, he can pitch the next day but is limited to a maximum of 70 pitches the second day. The pitch count rules apply to regular season contests as well as the entire IESA state series. The complete IESA pitch count limitations are available by clicking here.

Chess and Golf Finals

The Board approved extending the contract with the Peoria Civic Center that will keep the IESA chess finals in Peoria through 2021 and the contract with the Peoria Park District that will keep the IESA golf finals at Kellogg Golf Course through 2020. "Both of these activities will continue to play in Peoria," said Endsley. "The Civic Center has proven to be a wonderful venue for our chess competition and the Peoria Park District does an amazing job hosting our golf finals. I am very pleased that the Civic Center and Kellogg will continue to host these two events."

Activity Committee Action

Golf -- The Board approved a date change for the sectional playing date. Beginning the fall of 2017, the sectional playing date will be held on Tuesday of week 10 in the standardized calendar. Previously, the sectionals were held on Saturday of week 10. Moving the sectional to Tuesday allows a better selection of sectional golf sites as many courses were reluctant to give up a Saturday to host the sectional. Penalties will now be in effect if spectators coach competitors during play in the state series. The first offense is a warning; the second offense is a 2 stroke penalty; and the third offense is the disqualification of the golfer. The Board did not approve a recommendation to allow coaches to use golf carts at the sectional and they did not approve a team competition for the finals. Advancement from sectional to state will be based on a percentage of golfers competing at each sectional rather than a set number from each sectional.

Cross-Country -- The Board did not approve a recommendation that a complete video review of the finish line be conducted after each state race as NFHS rule 8-3-3 states that the order of finish is determined by the chip transponders when chips are worn.

Softball -- The Board did not approve a recommendation to require coaches to evaluate umpires after each regular season and state series game.

Speech -- The Board approved minor clarifications to the rules regarding props; the adjudication sheets for the improv events and removed the teaching requirement to be eligible for the Distinguished Service and Class Act awards given to speech coaches.

Other Business Items

Scholar Attitude: The 19th annual Scholar Attitude Award luncheon will be Tuesday, May 2, 2017 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. 17, 2017. Judges will meet in the IESA Office March 28 to select the winners.

Division Meetings: The Board heard a report regarding "attendance" at the required Division Meetings that were conducted online in the fall. Only 21 schools were placed on probation for failure to attend one of the meetings. All schools that failed to attend a meeting in 2015 attended 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, 2016.

Board Meetings: There are two regular meetings remaining in the 2016-17 school year. One is scheduled April 7, 2017, and the other is scheduled June 16, 2017.

Sectional Track Financial Report: Effective immediately, the financial report for the sectional track meets will mirror the financial reports used for basketball, volleyball, and wrestling. Host schools will reimburse IESA 30% of the total admission and then the remaining money will be used to pay the expenses of the sectional meet. Any money remaining after expenses are paid will be retained by the host school. If the sectional meet runs at a deficit, then the host school may assess each participating school an equal share of the deficit. The only expenses allowed to be charged to the report will be those detailed on the report.

Division Membership: As required by Section 1.490 of the IESA Constitution, the Board of Directors reviewed the IESA membership divisions. No changes were made to the current divisions.

Caterpillar Grant: The Board was informed that the Association received a $7500 grant from the Caterpillar Foundation to support the Scholar Attitude Award.

DOT Foods: Recognized DOT Foods out of Mt. Sterling for their efforts to work cooperatively with the Brown County speech program and their students.

ShaZam Racing: The Board approved a five year agreement with ShaZam Racing, Peoria, IL to provide the scoring and timing at the IESA state track & field meets.

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 20 meeting:

Division H: Mr. Ingold was contacted by a coach outside of his division regarding the use of pass cards at state events. No action was taken. A principal from his division forwarded a concern from a parent in her district concerning girls playing on boys teams. No action was taken. He also shared comments he received from an A.D. about allowing basketball players to play 8 quarters in a day and whether that policy should be continued. No action was taken.

Division K: Mr. Graham received a comment from a school thanking the Board for allowing students to play 8 quarters a day so the smaller schools can play both a 7th grade and an 8th grade game in the same evening. A school inquired about duplicate awards for co-op teams and both schools paying the entry fees. Administrative staff will present co-op numbers to the Board in April for additional discussion. Mr. Graham was also contacted about the volleyball assignments. No action was taken.

Division L: Mrs. Young had a situation in her division where a coach allowed a student to play 9 quarters in one day. That was addressed between the IESA Office and the offending school.

Division M: Mr. Davis was contacted about the location of one of the girls basketball state final tournaments. The concern was that the location was not centrally located and the school had a three hour trip to the site. No action was taken.

Comments from IESA Executive Director Steve Endsley: At the conclusion of the January, 2016 meeting, I wrote the following as part of the Board synopsis of that meeting:

"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 for the IESA staff 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."

Fast forward to January, 2017 and I need to mention seeding once again. Please read the following as we continue to have problems with seeding:

I am writing to tell everyone once again, we are getting very close to mandating that regional pairings will be done on a random basis and that the seeding process will be eliminated. The reason is very simple. Coaches are intentionally trying to manipulate the seedings. Rather than seed fairly they are choosing to seed intentionally incorrectly in hopes that their school receives a higher seed or they face an opponent who should be seeded lower. They do this because they can hide behind a computer screen and not face the coaches of the teams in their regional as they had to when seeding was done at a school and all coaches were together. We had many more intentional incorrect seeds this year. We actually had a school this year (2017) in basketball seed a 2-16 team and an 0-17 team ahead of schools with an 8-8 record and a 6-9 record. This is wrong on every level. And, it is not just a one-time thing. We are seeing it more and more, from all levels, 1A-4A, and from all over the state. It must stop or the Association will correct it by simply having a random draw determine regional pairings.
This issue has been discussed by the IESA Board of Directors. Again, this is simple. Seed the teams fairly and we will continue to allow coaches to seed the regional. But, this is a final warning to all schools---if it happens again in 2017-18, we will move toward random draw at the regional level.
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