The Illinois High School Association, the governing body for high school athletics in Illinois, has made a statement regarding a new scoring system for the state final events in select sports.
Essentially, to further accommodate and include athletes with disabilities, the new scoring systems at the IHSA State meets for both track & field and swimming & diving will be used in addition to the current scoring systems. Read an excerpt from IHSA Executive Director Marty Hickman below, regarding the change in policy:
We are appreciative of the guidance provided by the Office of Civil Rights during this process, which reinforced the Association’s position to help move the settlement discussions forward. This agreement protects the integrity of competition for able-bodied competitors and athletes with disabilities alike. The Association will maintain its interscholastic programs as they have been conducted for many decades, while expanding opportunities in selected sports with new combined state championships in swimming & diving and track & field. For example, the IHSA will continue its traditional swimming & diving and track & field state final tournaments, with both using their traditional scoring formats to determine the state champions. Additionally, a new scoring system will award trophies to teams in both sports based on the combined scoring of its able-bodied and disabled state final qualifiers. (Full statement here)
Emboldened are the concrete changes being made here. So, scoring will go about as it always has, with state titles being determined the same way as before, but this new additional system will give additional trophies, it seems, to programs based on the combined scoring of both its able-bodied and disabled athletes. This move comes after a lawsuit against the IHSA regarding the inclusion of disabled athletes in their former policies.
There’s another interesting tidbit about future state meets regarding starting blocks. Every year, Evanston Township High School and New Trier High School host a state swim meet; while one hosts the girls’ meet in November, the other will host the boys’ in February, and they switch off each year. What’s different about IHSA state swim meets is that both of these pools, despite having two of the largest seating capacities of any high school in the state, only use six lanes for state finals. Evanston will host the boys’ state meet this year, and the IHSA released a statement regarding ETHS’ starting blocks:
“As an IHSA Swimming & Diving State Final host since 1958, Evanston Township has invested in the IHSA and the state meet, and we are glad to reciprocate. These updates were necessary to continue to make the IHSA state meet one of the best of its kind in the country. We appreciate all that Evanston Township has done for high school swimming in Illinois and will continue to do in the future.” (Read more here)
The quote above from Marty Hickman gives us a look into the future, as Evanston will get financial help from the IHSA to get higher quality starting blocks (the current ones are small, wobbly, etc.) to improve the state meet experience of Illinois athletes.
It’s now October, which means the IHSA girls have about 7 weeks to prepare for their state meet. The boys start their season the Monday after the girls’ meet.