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IHSA Implements Multiplier (3/ 23/2005)

Peoria - The IHSA set up a press conference in Peoria, between the semi-finals & the finals of the IHSA AA basketball playoffs March 19th. Speculation pointed to the IHSA addressing the growing concern over private schools above average success in state finals competition, in the form of either implementing or not implementing a program in the form of a multiplier to "level the competitive balance" in state sports.

The IHSA's Board of Directors, approved Saturday, a plan that "aims to restore the competitive balance among private/public high schools without fixed attendance areas and public schools with boundaries". That plan will impose a multiplier of 1.65 to all non-boundaried schools of 450 or more students.

The multiplier number is in some cases higher or lower for certain schools than was originally suggested by a task force on the issue. The original proposal by the task force had a sliding scale from 1.0 to 2.0 with 5 multipliers based on the number of schools within a 30 mile radius, non-boundaried schools in less populated areas now may be taking on the brunt of the multiplier while Chicago suburban & city schools may have less of a dramatic jump.

The IHSA said that 20 non-boundaried schools would make the jump from A to AA in all sports, due to the multiplier & a new set enrollment dividing number of 735, except in soccer where the number will be 40 schools due to a higher cut off number that takes the top 61% of enrollment and places them in the AA soccer level.

In football the number for 2005 is undetermined since the football playoffs revolve around a football enrollment number based on the size of schools you play in the regular season.

If the multiplier had been used in last seasons football playoffs 15 schools would have moved up a class, while 3 more would have moved up 2 and 21 would have moved down a class.

Talks of law suits by private schools has been heard throughout the state, but so far onlyNew Lenox (Providence)has made any public statement in the direction of legal action.

While internet message boards & radio talk shows have been flush with talk of private schools forming a separate association. Even with the frame work of the Chicago Prep-Bowl still in place, a private association is a far cry from reality in 2005.

Other less publicized additions to the IHSA rule book include a decision on the option of the expansion of some sports by 1 or 2 classes. Basketball, baseball & soccer will have the option to expand by 2 classes only instead of 1 if the number of schools participating exceeds 600.

Also added by the IHSA are new educational components, directed at providing more education on rules regarding recruiting & to help with the development of a detailed form for enrollment verification for private schools.

Both the last words on the Multiplier & the secession of the private schools from the IHSA are far from being heard before the 2005 season starts in August.

by Vincent Johnson








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