Illinois High School Association
|This article needs additional citations for verification. (September 2015)|
|Motto||"The Future Plays Here"|
|Formation||December 27, 1900|
|Headquarters||2715 McGraw Dr.
Bloomington, IL 61704
|777 high schools|
|Affiliations||National Federation of State High School Associations|
The Illinois High School Association (IHSA) is a state high school association in the United States that regulates competition in most interscholastic sports and some interscholastic activities at the high school level. It is a charter member of the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS). The IHSA regulates 14 sports for boys, 15 sports for girls, and eight co-educational non-athletic activities. More than 760 public and private high schools in the state of Illinois are members of the IHSA. The Association's offices are in Bloomington, Illinois.
In its over 100 years of existence, the IHSA has been at the center of many controversies. Some of these controversies (inclusion of sports for girls, the inclusion of private schools, drug testing, and the use of the term "March Madness") have had national resonance, or paralleled the struggles seen in other states across the country. Other controversies (geographic advancement of teams to the state playoff series, struggles between small schools and large schools, particular rules unique to Illinois competition) are more of a local focus.
- 1 Governance
- 2 History
- 3 Sanctioned sports
- 4 Sanctioned non-athletic activities
- 5 State series format
- 6 Notable medalists in IHSA sponsored state series
- 7 National High School Hall of Fame inductees
- 8 See also
- 9 Notes
- 10 References
- 11 Bibliography
- 12 External links
The IHSA is governed according to the rules of its constitution. This constitution covers the broadest policies of the Association, such as membership, governance, officers and their duties, and meeting requirements.
The IHSA is led by an eleven-member Board of Directors. All eleven members are high school principals from member schools. Seven of the ten are elected to three-year terms from seven geographic regions within the state of Illinois. Three other board members are elected at-large. A treasurer, who does not vote, is appointed by the Board. The Board of Directors determines IHSA policies and employs an executive director and staff. They also work with the Illinois General Assembly, the Illinois State Board of Education, the Illinois Principals Association, the Illinois Association of School Boards, the Illinois Association of School Administrators, the Illinois Athletic Directors Association and the North Central Association.
The IHSA also has a 35-member Legislative Commission, consisting of 21 high school principals, seven high school athletic directors elected from each of the seven state regions, and seven at-large members. The commission reviews amendment proposals to the IHSA Constitution and By-laws, and determines which are passed on to a vote of the member schools. Each school receives one vote on any amendments, with voting taking place annually in December. Changes are passed by simple majority of member schools.
The day-to-day running of the Association is charged to an administrative staff of nine, one of whom acts in the position of Executive Director. This group is directly responsible for setting up and running the individual state playoff series in each sport and activity. They also supervise annual meetings with advisory committees from each sport and activity to review possible changes in the rules. They also coordinate committees on issues from sportsmanship and sports medicine to media relations and corporate sponsorship.
Subordinate to the Constitution and By-Laws are a number of policies. These policies are generally of greater interest to the public, as they more specifically deal with issues that affect the day-to-day operation of sports and activities. Examples of policies include individual athlete eligibility, rules governing the addition of new sports and activities, the classification of schools (1A, 2A, 3A, etc.), and media relations.
The key policy that has been a cornerstone to the IHSA is its policy on grouping and seeding tournaments:
1. The State Series is designed to determine a State Champion. The State Series is not intended to necessarily advance the best teams in the state to the State Final.
The IHSA is built upon the concept of geographic representation in its state playoff series.
The IHSA was founded on December 27, 1900, at a rump session of the Illinois Principals Association. Known as the Illinois High School Athletic Association for the first 40 years of its existence, the IHSA is the second oldest of the 52 state high school associations. Only the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association outdates it, by two years.
For the greater part of a decade, the IHSA was concerned mostly with establishing school control over interscholastic athletic programs and setting eligibility standards for competition. Ringers were a persistent problem, and among schoolboy sports, football was a special concern. In this period, severe injuries and even deaths were not uncommon, and there was much talk of banning football completely.
In 1908, the IHSA’s mission expanded in an unforeseen direction when its board was convinced by Lewis Omer of Oak Park and River Forest High School to sponsor a statewide basketball tournament. Although a handful of other state associations had sponsored track meets, none had ever attempted to organize a statewide basketball tournament. The first tournament, an 11-team invitational held at the Oak Park YMCA, was a financial success. Subsequent state tournaments, which were open to all member schools, provided the IHSA with fiscal independence, an important new vehicle to spread its message, and ever-increasing name recognition among the public.
By 1922, the affairs of the Association became so time-consuming that its board hired a full-time manager, C. W. Whitten. As vice president of the Board, Whitten had recently reorganized the basketball tournament and reduced the size of the state finals from 21 teams to four. About the same time, the IHSA became a charter member of the National Federation of State High School Associations. In addition to his IHSA responsibilities, Whitten ran the business affairs of the NFHS, at first unofficially, and after 1927 with the official title of general manager.
From this dual stage, Whitten and his assistant manager at the IHSA, H. V. Porter, exerted unusual influence over high school sports, not only in Illinois, but across the nation. In one memorable battle, Whitten took on the "grand old man" of college football, Amos Alonzo Stagg of the University of Chicago and effectively shut down his national tournament for high school basketball champions. Porter served on several NFHS committees and helped develop the molded basketball and the fan-shaped backboard, among other inventions. Porter later became the first full-time executive of the NFHS.
As the Association matured, member schools requested sponsorship of state tournaments in sports other than basketball. The first such move came in 1927, when the IHSA took over control of the Illinois Interscholastic, a festival of high school track, golf, and tennis run by the University of Illinois. The meet continued to be held on the campus in Champaign-Urbana, but as with basketball, IHSA involvement opened the field to all IHSA member schools and removed non-member schools, including a handful of out-of-state schools. The IHSA subsequently established state series in several other boys’ sports: swimming and diving (1932), wrestling (1937), baseball (1940), cross country (1946), and gymnastics (1958) (gymnastics had a University of Illinois sponsored state meet from 1952 through 1957). Few of these series were self-supporting, but the ever-popular basketball tournament – sometimes referred to as the “goose that laid the golden egg” – paid the freight for all.
Of the many challenges faced by Whitten during his 20 year career, the one with the longest-lasting repercussions was the reorganization of 1940. Prior to this time, two large groups of Illinois high schools remained outside of IHSA control: private schools, which were not eligible for membership, and the public schools of Chicago, which were eligible but had joined only sporadically. The new constitution approved in 1940 extended the privileges of membership to non-public schools and gave limited autonomy to the Chicago schools, which subsequently joined en masse. In addition, non-athletic activities such as speech and music were added to the IHSA’s menu, prompting the elimination of the word “Athletic” from the Association’s name.
1941 saw one of the first serious challenges to IHSA authority, when the association banned high school bands from competing nationally. When a bill was introduced in the Illinois General Assembly to transfer the IHSA's authority to the state superintendent's office, the IHSA moved to change the ban, and give local athletic directors a greater voice in decision making.
In 1942, as World War II started to have an effect on American life, many schools began dropping less popular sports as transportation and hiring qualified coaches became a serious issue. The association polled its membership to investigate the possibility of ending the spring sports season. The poll supported keeping the season. All over the country, as gas rationing threatened to prevent teams and officials from traveling, IHSA Secretary Al Willis was able to get special exemptions for Illinois teams and officials; a precedent that spread to other states, very likely saving high school competitions during the war. By 1943, the IHSA had to look at making changes to its rules regarding eligible coaches, and the prospect of military veterans returning to high school. Ironically, the federal government eventually did put a limit to post season travel for high schools in May, 1945; too late to stop Illinois' spring tournaments, and just in time to herald the end of the war. In the end, the IHSA did not curtail its sports tournaments throughout the war.
The IHSA’s record of leadership in the field of girls’ athletics is mixed. Girls have had the opportunity to participate in IHSA sponsored interscholastic sports since 1972, though opportunities before that were somewhat restricted.
Girls’ basketball had already begun to pervade high schools by the time the IHSA was founded in 1900. Just a few years later, upwards of 300 Illinois high schools sponsored girls’ basketball teams. For a variety of reasons, the early leaders of the IHSA found this situation unacceptable. They were worried about injuries and putting girls on public display, calling basketball “not altogether ladylike”. They may also have been concerned about girls stealing gym time from the fledgling boys’ teams. On November 2, 1907, the IHSA Board banned all interscholastic competition for girls, becoming the first state association to do so.
Instead the IHSA, with considerable encouragement from female educators, promoted intramural activities and cooperative play days for girls. When Whitten became the director in 1921, he reached out to the Illinois League of High School Girls' Athletic Associations (ILHSGAA) and together they forged an agreement that barred girls’ teams from interscholastic competition in most sports for decades thereafter. The IHSA took over the financial support of the girls’ association in 1927 and absorbed it in 1945. The IHSA gradually relaxed its policy somewhat, allowing interschool contests for girls in some non-contact sports such as golf, tennis, and archery, but these were never popular events. To provide a small measure of competition in other sports, the IHSA sponsored “telegraphic” or “postal” competitions in basket-shooting, swimming, and bowling.
By the late 1960s Whitten and the ILHSGAA were long gone, but for the high school girls of Illinois the playing field had not changed significantly since 1907. While the IHSA was able to withstand pressure from some of its member schools to initiate meaningful interscholastics for girls, the passage of Title IX in May 1972 finally forced the issue. The IHSA held its first girls’ state tournament in tennis that fall, and a variety of other sports quickly followed. Today the IHSA sponsors state tournaments in 14 sports for girls.
While the mundane tasks of regulating eligibility and licensing officials remain just as important to the IHSA’s mission as they were in the beginning, higher-profile issues having to do with state tournaments –- and who wins them –- have repeatedly stolen the spotlight in recent years.
Illinois was one of the last states, and certainly the largest, to retain a one-class system, where all schools, regardless of enrollment, competed for the same prize. In December 1970 the smaller schools, who make up the majority of IHSA members, forced a binding referendum on whether to implement a two-class system in boys’ basketball, and the measure carried by a narrow margin, 312–293. After this move, several other sports adopted the two-class format. In January 2006, after a substantial majority of schools responding to an advisory referendum indicated a preference for more classes, the IHSA Board of Directors approved expansion in several sports, starting in 2007–08.
At the culmination of the first drive for expansion, the IHSA also sought a way to add a state championship in football to its schedule of events. Because of the sheer number of schools involved, a playoff involving all schools was not possible. In 1974, the IHSA introduced a five-class system in which teams qualified based on their regular-season performance. The addition of the football playoffs coaxed the last large group of non-members, the schools of the Chicago Catholic League, to join the IHSA. The playoffs were expanded to six classes in 1980 and eight classes in 2001.
Private school multiplier
The success of non-public schools in IHSA tournaments has led to considerable debate among the members, 83% of which are public schools. In 1985, the Interstate Eight Conference proposed a bylaw that the IHSA should exclude private schools from competing in state tournaments, though the membership voted this proposal down. In 2005, the Board of Directors implemented a multiplier for classification purposes that boosted the enrollments of non-boundaried schools by a factor of 1.65. A group of 37 private schools later sued the Association, and a settlement was reached that required the multiplier to go through the Association's annual legislative process. In December 2005, the member schools voted 450–143 to retain the 1.65 multiplier.
Another lawsuit drew national attention in the 1990s, when the IHSA laid claim to “March Madness.” The phrase was first used to describe the IHSA basketball tournament in an essay written by H. V. Porter in 1939 and published in the IHSA’s monthly magazine. Over time the phrase came to be used for high school basketball tournaments, particularly in Illinois, but was not trademarked by the IHSA. When a television production company sought to register the phrase, the IHSA sued, leading to a battle that eventually involved the NCAA as well. In the end, a district court judge ruled that both the IHSA and NCAA could register the trademark and use the phrase for their own purposes. In addition, the IHSA is the sole owner of the mark, "America's Original March Madness."
1995 wrestling controversy
In 1995, Mt. Carmel (Chicago), under coach Bill Weick, entered the end of the wrestling season ranked third in the nation by USA Today, and was poised to win its fourth consecutive state dual team title. Just prior to their Regional tournament, the IHSA learned that the school had competed in too many invitational tournaments, and disqualified the school from further competing as a team. Mt. Carmel did not deny the assertion; however, they claimed that one of the varsity tournaments had only had JV and frosh-soph wrestlers competing. Mt. Carmel won a temporary injunction from the Cook County Circuit Court to permit their team to compete in the regionals. While the individual tournaments progressed, Mt. Carmel won a court victory which forced the IHSA to permit the team to wrestle. When the IHSA's appeal was denied, and after temporarily suspending the tournament, the IHSA decided to end the season without a Class AA state championship dual team tournament; the first time in the history of the Association that a state tournament had been cancelled due to a cause other than war.
Media usage restrictions
On November 1, 2007, the Illinois Press Association (IPA) and two newspapers (the Northwest Herald and the State Journal-Register) filed for a temporary restraining order to prohibit the IHSA from enforcing its policy restricting the use of photographs taken at its state final events. The IHSA's policy, similar to those adopted by the NCAA, colleges such as Illinois State University and the University of Illinois, and other state high school associations, allows news-gathering organizations to sell photos that are published but prohibits the sale (usually through a Web site) of the many photos taken at the event that are not published. A circuit court judge denied the motion on November 5 and encouraged the parties to renew talks to resolve the impasse. The plaintiffs withdrew their request for a preliminary injunction on November 16 as talks continued.
On December 5, 2007, the IHSA announced that it had filed a countersuit to the IPA seeking a resolution to the ongoing issue, citing a failure on the part of the IPA to continue talks, and the ongoing sale of photographs.
In January, 2008, it was announced that State Representative Joseph Lyons had submitted Illinois House Bill 4582, which would prevent the IHSA from enforcing its ban on press outlets from selling pictures of IHSA events.
In April, 2008, the IHSA and the Illinois Press Association jointly announced a cessation of hostilities that gave the press permission to sell photographs without hindrance from the IHSA
Performance-enhancing drug testing
On January 14, 2008, the IHSA announced that, based on a survey of 54% of its principals, it would move forward to design and implement a program to test for the presence of performance-enhancing drugs in student athletes participating in select State Series competitions. While details have not been worked out, based on the vote of the principals, the membership would not favor forcing a team to forfeit in the event of a positive test, though the membership which voted overwhelmingly favored to support a period of ineligibility for athletes testing positive, and narrowly supported forcing schools to adopt education programs if an athlete tested positive.
Prior to 1991, this office was known as Manager or Executive Secretary.
- C. W. Whitten, 1922–1942
- Albert Willis, 1942–1968
- Harry Fitzhugh, 1968–1978
- Lavere L. (Liz) Astroth, 1978–1991
- H. David Fry, 1991–2002
- Martin L. Hickman, 2002–present
|Sport||First IHSA State Series||Most Team Championships||Current Season|
|Badminton (girls)||1977||7--Dubuque (Iowa) Senior HS||spring|
|Baseball||1940||4--Belleville Twp HS, Morton HS, Proviso East HS||spring|
|Basketball (boys)||1908||5--Simeon Career Academy, Peoria High School (Peoria, Illinois)||winter|
|Basketball (girls)||1977||8--Marshall HS (Chicago)||winter|
|Bowling (boys)||2003||2--Andrew HS||winter|
|Bowling (girls)||1973||4--Machesney Park, Harlem High School||winter|
|Cross Country (boys)||1946||28--York HS||fall|
|Cross Country (girls)||1979||12--Winnebago HS||fall|
|Competitive Cheerleading (girls/co-ed)2||2006||4--Elk Grove HS||winter|
|Competitive Dance (girls)||2013||2--Geneva HS||winter|
|Football10||1974||13--Joliet Catholic Academy||fall|
|Golf (boys)||19383||9--University HS||fall|
|Golf (girls)||1975||8--Regina Dominican HS||fall|
|Gymnastics (boys)||1952||9--Hinsdale Central HS||spring|
|Gymnastics (girls)||1977||8--Fremd HS||winter|
|Soccer (boys)||1972||10--Granite City HS||fall|
|Soccer (girls)||1988||8--St. Charles East HS||spring|
|Softball (girls)||1976||7--Casey-Westfield HS||spring|
|Swimming & Diving (boys)||1932||21--Dubuque (Iowa) Senior HS||winter|
|Swimming & Diving (girls)||1975||12--Dubuque (Iowa) Senior HS||fall|
|Tennis (boys)||19364||18--Hinsdale Central HS||spring|
|Tennis (girls)||1972||10--Hinsdale Central HS||fall|
|Track & Field (boys)||1893||17--Oak Park-River Forest HS||spring|
|Track & Field (girls)||1973||14—East St. Louis Lincoln HS5||spring|
|Volleyball (boys)||1992||6--Wheaton-Warrenville South HS||spring|
|Volleyball (girls)||1975||13--Mother McAuley HS||fall|
|Water Polo (boys)||2002||7--Fenwick HS||spring|
|Water Polo (girls)||2002||4--Fenwick HS||spring|
|Wrestling10||1937||Tied 10-- Providence Catholic High School and Proviso East HS||winter|
Technically, with the exception of baseball, sports with boys teams having no accompanying girls teams are officially both boys & girls teams. Participation of girls on these boys & girls teams is uncommon, as it is in other states with similar arrangements. Girls teams with no accompanying "boys" team are girls only.
|Sport||IHSA State Series||Most Championships|
|Archery (girls)||1976–80||2--Rolling Meadows HS|
|Field Hockey (girls)||1975–81||2--DeKalb HS|
Note: In addition, the earliest Track and Field meets (1893–1901) included bicycle racing as events.
Sanctioned non-athletic activities
|Sport||First IHSA State Series||Most Championships|
|Bass Fishing||2009||Frankfort Community High School|
|Debate9 ||1941||4--Dubuque (Iowa) Senior HS, Lyons HS, DuQuoin HS|
|Drama and Group Interpretation||1941||14--Homewood-Flossmoor HS|
|Journalism||2006||2—Naperville Central High School|
|Scholastic Bowl||1987||8--Illinois Math and Science Academy|
|Speech Individual Events||1941||14--Downers Grove South High School|
State series format
While the earlier years of the IHSA saw a hodgepodge of systems for organizing each event's state playoff series, there exists today a more uniform system. The IHSA attempts to organize state championship events geographically, so that different regions of the state are represented in state finals competition. Though not every competition uses it, the Regional (R) tournament is generally the lowest level of competition, and is open to every team which is eligible to enter. This is followed by Sectional (S) competition, and is followed by the State (F) level. In some sports, there is a single game Super-Sectional (SS) which follows the Sectional, and determines the state qualifier. In some regions where teams are further from one another, the sectionals are divided into sub-sectionals for seeding purposes. The following is an overview of the state series. Unless noted, boys and girls sports use identical systems. In all cases, seeding is either conducted by a conclave of coaches, or is made by criterion of best scores or times (as in track & field).
|Sport||# of Classes||Format||Seeding information|
|Badminton (girls only)||1||S-F||individuals seeded at sectional level; no team seeding|
|Baseball||4||R-S-SS-F||teams seeded at sectional or sub-sectional level|
|Basketball||4||R-S-SS-F||teams seeded at sectional or sub-sectional level|
|Golf (boys)||3||R-S-F||no seeding|
|Golf (girls)||2||R-S-F||no seeding|
|Gymnastics (boys)||1||S-F||individual seeding at sectional level|
|Gymnastics (girls)||1||R-S-F||individual seeding at regional level|
|Soccer||3||R-S-SS-F||teams seeded at sectional or sub-sectional level|
|Softball||4||R-S-SS-F||teams seeded at sectional or sub-sectional level|
|Swimming & Diving||1||S-F||individuals seeded at sectional level|
|Tennis||1||S-F||individuals seeded at sectional level|
|Track & Field||3||S-F||individuals seeded at sectional level|
|Volleyball (boys)||1||R-S-F||teams seeded at sectional or sub-sectional level|
|Volleyball (girls)||4||R-S-SS-F||teams seeded at sectional or sub-sectional level|
|Water Polo||1||S-F||teams seeded at sectional level|
|Wrestling||3||R-S-F||individuals seeded at regional level7|
None of the competitive activities to date have a super-sectional level of competition, but otherwise follow similar formats for their state competitions. Music is a noted exception.
|Activity||# of Classes||Format||Seeding information|
|Chess||1||F||Top 56 teams are determined by a pairing committee; Swiss pairing afterwards|
|Drama & Group Interpretation||1||S-F||none|
|Scholastic Bowl||2||R-S-F||teams seeded at sectional or sub-sectional level|
|Speech Individual Events||1||R-S-F||none|
Notable medalists in IHSA sponsored state series
- Derrick Rose (Simeon HS) - won back-to-back Class AA basketball state championships in 2006 and 2007. Played at Memphis University for one year. Chosen first overall in 2008 NBA Draft by hometown Chicago Bulls. Became youngest player to receive NBA Most Valuable Player Award in 2011.
- Lou Boudreau (Thornton HS) • announcer and Hall-of-Fame baseball player • led his high school basketball team to 1933 state title and to second place in 1934 and 1935. He was named to the IHSA's 100 Legends list honoring a century of high school basketball.
- Jim Brewer (Proviso East HS) • basketball player and coach • led his team to the 1969 state basketball title before playing for the 1972 Olympic team, and playing and coaching in the NBA.
- Quinn Buckner (Thornridge HS) • basketball player, coach, announcer • led his basketball team to state titles in 1971 and 1972. Played for gold medal 1976 Olympic team after being a part of the 1976 undefeated Indiana team that won the NCAA championship. Later played, coached, and became a broadcaster in the NBA.
- Dave Butz (Maine South HS) • professional football player • won 1968 state championship in the discus.
- Bart Conner (Niles West HS) • Olympic gymnast • medaled 13 times between 1973 and 1975, including three State Titles on the parallel bars, and two All-Around State Titles.
- Jimmy Connors (Assumption HS, East St. Louis) • international tennis star • placed fifth at the 1967 State Tennis Championship Tournament.
- Roger Ebert (Urbana HS) • film critic • won 1958 state title in radio speaking (Individual Events).
- Neil Flynn (Waukegan East HS) • actor • won 1978 state title in humorous duet acting (Individual Events).
- Red Grange (Wheaton HS) • professional football player • medaled seven times in Track & Field (1920–22) including state championships in the high jump, 100 yard dash, long jump, and 220 yard dash.
- Dawn Harper (East St. Louis Senior HS) • Olympic gold medalist • swept both hurdling events as a high school junior (2000–01) and senior (01–02). Her 2001 time in the 100 m high hurdles remains a state record for girls as of 2008.
- Dennis Hastert • Congressman and 59th Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives • Head Wrestling Coach for Yorkville HS who won the 1976 Class A State Wrestling Championship.
- Edwin Hubble (Wheaton HS) • astronomer • won 1906 state championship in the high jump.
- Jackie Joyner-Kersee (Lincoln HS, East St. Louis) • Olympic athlete • won five medals from 1978 to 1980, including individual state championships in the 440 yard dash, and long jump (twice).
- Shamier Little (Robert Lindblom Math & Science Academy) - national champion hurdler
- Ralph Metcalfe (Tilden HS) • Olympic athlete and politician • won seven medals from 1927 to 1930.
- Candace Parker (Naperville Central HS) • basketball player • led her team to 2003 and 2004 state titles, winning several national awards. She later played for University of Tennessee before joining the WNBA, becoming their first Rookie of the Year and MVP in the same season.
- Jabari Parker (Simeon Career Academy) - basketball player - led Simeon to four consecutive Class 4A state championships. He was the second player selected in the 2014 NBA Draft.
- Jon Scheyer (Glenbrook North HS) • basketball player • led his team to third place (2003) and a state title (2005), before playing at Duke University. He was the youngest member of the IHSA's 100 Legends list honoring a century of high school basketball.
- Jack Sikma (St. Anne HS) • basketball player and coach • led his basketball team to a fourth-place finish in Class A before playing and coaching in the NBA.
- Isiah Thomas (St. Joseph HS) • basketball player, coach, executive • led his basketball team to second place in 1978. Later also won NCAA and NBA championships.
National High School Hall of Fame inductees
Twenty-two Illinoisans are members of the National High School Hall of Fame sponsored by the NFHS. The honorees, and their year of induction:
- Norman Geske (1982) was a football official.
- H. V. Porter (1982) was an IHSA and NFHS administrator who coined the term “March Madness”.
- Arthur Trout (1982) was a basketball coach at Centralia High School.
- Dwight (Dike) Eddleman (1983) was a three-sport athlete (football, basketball, athletics) at Centralia High School.
- Vergil Fletcher (1983) was a basketball coach at Collinsville High School.
- Milton Sprunger (1983) was an IHSA administrator.
- Fred (Brick) Young (1983) was a basketball official.
- Harold (Red) Grange (1984) was a football player at Wheaton High School.
- Bart Conner (1986) was a gymnast at Niles West High School.
- John L. Griffith (1986) was the first commissioner of the Big Ten Conference, and a contributor to high school athletics.
- Charles Farina (1987) was a wrestling coach at East Leyden High School.
- Quinn Buckner (1989) was a basketball player at Thornridge High School.
- Gordie Gillespie (1989) was a football coach at Joliet Catholic Academy.
- Jackie Joyner-Kersee (1989) was a track & field athlete at Lincoln High School in East St. Louis.
- Keith Parker (1990) was a basketball official.
- Dave Robertson (1991) was a swimming & diving coach at Dubuque (Iowa) Senior High School.
- William (Red) Schmitt (1993) was a wrestling coach at Granite City South High School.
- Tom Frederick (1994) was an IHSA administrator.
- Ola Bundy (1996) was an IHSA administrator.
- Larry Wilcoxen (2002) was a basketball official.
- Joe Newton (2004) is a cross country coach at York Community High School.
- Dick Deitz (2008) was a four sport (baseball, basketball, football, softball) official.
- Dana Miroballi (2009) was a cross country and track & field athlete at Wheeling High School.
- List of Illinois High School Association member conferences Note that, unlike some other states such as Iowa or Texas, Illinois' high school athletic conferences are not officially organized by the IHSA and have little bearing on playoff competition. Individual schools organize themselves into conferences, mostly as a way of making scheduling easier, and many schools choose to compete as independents. However, conference affiliation does come into play in football competition, as conference champions earn an automatic bid into the playoffs (football conferences must have at least six members for a champion to be automatically playoff-eligible). Football teams not affiliated in a conference can still qualify with six or more wins. Football competition is played with a nine-game schedule. 
- National Federation of State High School Associations
- Illinois high school boys basketball championship
- Illinois Elementary School Association
1The total of 52 counts the high school association of the District of Columbia and the two associations in Iowa, of which the latter has separate governing bodies for boys' and girls' school activities.
2The IHSA sponsors three classes of competitive cheerleading. In addition, there is a fourth class for coed cheerleading teams.
3While boys' golf did not have a team champion until 1938, the IHSA sponsored an individual tournament in 1916, and from 1919 onward.
4Boys' tennis did not have a team champion until 1936, but the IHSA sponsored individual tournaments from 1912 to 1915, and then from 1919 onward.
5The seventeen state titles in Girls Track and Field were won by Lincoln High School in East St. Louis. This school closed after the 1997–98 school year. East St. Louis Senior High School is the caretaker of these records, though the school has not won any state titles in this sport since the merger.
6Football is the only sport to which a team must qualify for entry. 256 teams are accepted based on record, and then opponent wins. These teams are broken into eight groups by size, after which, each team is assigned to one of two 16-team brackets based on geography. Seeding within the bracket is based on record, and then opponent wins.
7Wrestling teams are assigned to a regional by geography. Individual wrestlers are seeded in each weight class. The team regional champion is based on team scores which are standard for wrestling tournaments, based on individual advancement. The individuals then compete in individual sectionals and an individual state championship. Afterwards, the teams that won their regionals compete in a dual team sectional tournament, with sectional winners advancing to state.
8Music competition is held in a sweepstakes format. Competing schools perform at sites throughout the state. Scores are then submitted from each site to the IHSA, who then rank teams according to the judges scores, with the highest score in each Class being the State Champion. Any school earning a "First Division" distinction in judging, irrelevant of their final placement, may purchase an award. While barred from solo performance, music ensembles are the only IHSA competitions in which junior high or middle school participation is permitted.
9The IHSA stopped recognizing team champions in debate after the 1971–72 school year. Individual competition continues to the present.
10Although Football and Wrestling are boy's sports, girls can play in both of these sports.
- results of 2008–09 by-law referenda; includes result histories; accessed 11 January 2009
- List of NFHS members
- IHSA Constitution
- IHSA Board of Directors
- IHSA Legislative Commission
- IHSA Administrative Staff
- IHSA Administrative Procedures, Guidelines, and Policies
- Association ban threatens prep tourneys here; Northwestern and Chicago May Bar City Schools, 17 March 1926, Chicago Daily Tribune, p. 17; accessed 1 September 2008
- C.W. Whitten Accepts New Athletic Post, 7 April 1940, Chicago Daily Tribune, p. B3; accessed 1 September 2008
- Agreement on Illinois Prep Setup Forecast, 9 February 1941, Chicago Daily Tribune, p. D2; accessed 1 September 2008
- Withdraws Bill for Taking IHSA Authority Away, 24 April 1941, Chicago Daily Tribune, p. 12; accessed 1 September 2008
- Illinois to Vote on High School Spring Sports, 30 December 1942, Chicago Daily Tribune, p. 21; accessed 1 September 2008
- Illinois Preps Getting Ready for Normal Spring Program, 11 April 1943, Chicago Daily Tribune, p. B5; accessed 1 September 2008
- Cox, Mark, Problems fail to upset state prep secretary, 12 January 1944, Chicago Daily Tribune, p. 22; accessed 1 September 2008
- Illinois Prep Body Submits War Time Rules; High School Association to Vote on Changes, 27 October 1943, Chicago Daily Tribune, p. 31; accessed 1 September 2008
- ODT Curtails Post Season Athletic Games, 16 May 1945, Chicago Daily Tribune, p. 23; accessed 1 September 2008
- "IHSA votes down plan to oust Private schools". Chicago Tribune. 19 November 1985. pp. c3.
A plan to eliminate private schools from state tournament competition against public high schools was voted down Monday by the IHSA. The proposal was introduced by Coal City principal Mark A. Mills on behalf of the Interstate Eight Conference. Private schools make up 15.5 percent o the IHSA.
- [Johnson, K.C. with Reid Hanley & Scott Johnson contributing, 5 February 1995, IHSA Ruling Pins Mt. Carmel's Hopes Caravan Disqualified From State Meet For Too Many Invitationals, Chicago Tribune, p. 16. Retrieved October 7, 2008, from Chicago Tribune database. (Document ID: 20692920)]
- [Hanley, Reid, with John K. McCarthy, Sam Natrop and Raymond Rinn contributing, 8 February 1995, Mt. Carmel Wins In Court; Naperville N., Waubonsie On Mat, Chicago Tribune, p. 4. Retrieved October 7, 2008, from Chicago Tribune database. (Document ID: 20695363)]
- [Fegelman, Andrew, 17 February 1995, Judge favors Mt. Carmel; IHSA will appeal, Chicago Tribune, p. 410. Retrieved October 7, 2008, from Chicago Tribune database. (Document ID: 8009010).]
- [Hanley, Reid, 28 February 1995, IHSA Cancels Class AA Wrestling Tournament Ruling Body Decides To Pull Plug Rather Than Include Mt. Carmel, Chicago Tribune, p. 3, Retrieved October 7, 2008, from Chicago Tribune database. (Document ID: 20894054)]
- IHSA announcement of countersuit to IPA
- IHSA response to H.B. 4582
- IHSA-IPA joint resolution
- Tabulation of the votes of principals regarding drug testing
- IHSA Board minutes from Jan. 14, 2008 highlighting drug testing plan.
- IHSA Girls Badminton Information
- IHSA Boys Baseball Information
- IHSA Boys Basketball Information
- IHSA Girls Basketball Information
- IHSA Boys Bowling Information
- IHSA Girls Bowling Information
- IHSA Boys Cross Country Information
- IHSA Girls Cross Country Information
- IHSA Girls Cheerleading Information
- IHSA Boys Football Information
- IHSA Boys Golf Information
- IHSA Girls Golf Information
- IHSA Boys Gymnastics Information
- IHSA Girls Gymnastics Information
- IHSA Boys Soccer Information
- IHSA Girls Soccer Information
- IHSA Softball Information
- IHSA Boys Swimming & Diving Information
- IHSA Girls Swimming & Diving Information
- IHSA Boys Tennis Information
- IHSA Girls Tennis Information
- IHSA Boys Track & Field Information
- IHSA Girls Track & Field Information
- IHSA Boys Volleyball Information
- IHSA Girls Volleyball Information
- IHSA Boys Waater Polo Information
- IHSA Girls Water Polo Information
- IHSA Boys Wrestling Information
- "IHSA Board Approves Lacrosse State Series For 2010–11" (Press release). Illinois High School Association (IHSA). 13 October 2009. Retrieved 20 October 2009.
- IHSA Girls Archery chronology & records
- IHSA Girls Field Hockey chronology & records
- Results of discontinued IHSA Track & Field events
- IHSA Bass Fishing Information
- IHSA Chess Information
- IHSA Debate Information
- IHSA Drama & Group Interpretation Information
- IHSA Journalism Information
- IHSA Music Records Menu
- IHSA Scholastic Bowl Information
- IHSA Individual Events Information
- IHSA Basketball legends identifying Lou Boudreau
- IHSA Basketball legends identifying Jim Brewer
- IHSA Basketball legends identifying Quinn Buckner
- IHSA Individual Track Medalists
- Individual Boys Gymnastics medalists
- Boys Tennis medalists
- Individual medalists in Individual Events
- Individual medalists in Individual Events
- IHSA Individual Boys Track Medalists
- IHSA state records in girls track & field; accessed 20 August 2008
- IHSA girls track & field results, 2000–01; accessed 20 August 2008
- IHSA girls track & field results, 2001–02; accessed 20 August 2008
- IHSA wrestling team results
- IHSA Individual Girls Track Medalists
- IHSA Boys Track & Field Medalists
- Candace Parker's biography at UT Athletic Department
- IHSA Basketball legends identifying Jon Scheyer
- IHSA Basketball legends identifying Jack Sikma
- IHSA Basketball legends identifying Isiah Thomas
- IHSA Announcement – NFHS Hall of Fame To Induct Wheeling’s Dana Miroballi; 30 March 2009; ihsa.com; includes listing of all inductees from Illinois through 2009; accessed 25 July 2009
- List of IHSA recognized Athletic Conferences in Illinois
- East St. Louis Senior High School athletic records @ihsa.org
- Johnson, Scott, et al. 100 Years of Madness: The Illinois High School Association Boys' Basketball Tournament. (Bloomington: Illinois High School Association, 2007). ISBN 0-9601166-6-4
- Whitten, Charles W. Interscholastics: A Discussion of Interscholastic Contests. (Chicago: Illinois High School Association, 1950).