State Lawmaker Takes Aim at IHSA

Apr 7, 2014

Illinois lawmakers want to take a closer look at the Illinois High School Association.

The organization sanctions high school sports and extracurricular competitions statewide. Football, chess and water polo matches - not to mention band, drama and scholastic bowl competitions - are all governed by the IHSA. It's a non-profit-group, based in Bloomington. 

But while it's not government-run, State Rep. Linda Chapa LaVia, says it was created by the General Assembly.  And schools do pay some fees to the IHSAwhich Chapa LaVia says means it uses taxpayer dollars.  The Aurora Democrat says the IHSA has been elusive about its own practices: "My intention is to shine accountability and transparency on this department … that a lot of our colleagues have asked over the years to get information, and they have totally ignored us."

Chapa LaVia is sponsor of a measure the House approved to hold hearings on IHSA's funding, administration and other activities.  She says she has no intention of a state takeover; but her resolution calls for looking into the feasibility of transferring its duties to the state board of education.

That has opponents crying foul; they say IHSA does a commendable job and what it does is none of government's business.