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IHSA to study "success factor" proposal

Rob Winner –
Sycamore wide receiver Ben Niemann (8) stiff arms Montini's Josh Belt in the second quarter of a Class 5A playoff game in Lombard, Ill., Saturday, Nov. 3, 2012. Montini defeated Sycamore, 24-22.
Rob Winner – Sycamore wide receiver Ben Niemann (8) stiff arms Montini's Josh Belt in the second quarter of a Class 5A playoff game in Lombard, Ill., Saturday, Nov. 3, 2012. Montini defeated Sycamore, 24-22.

When Huskie Stadium plays host to the IHSA football state championships in November, there's a decent chance fans will be watching Montini, winner of the past four Class 5A titles.

There also is a good chance 13-time state champ Joliet Catholic could be there, as well as Aurora Christian, winners of the past three championships in 3A.

It's a similar situation in Indiana with football dynasties. Indianapolis Cathedral has won four of the past five Indiana Class 4A titles. Indianapolis Bishop Chatard has won eight Class 3A titles since 2001, while In 2A, Fort Wayne Bishop Luers has won championships five of the past six years. Lafayette Central Catholic has won the past four Indiana Class A titles.

So, last school year, the Indiana High School Athletic Association decided to do something about it, instituting a "success factor" to try to level the playing field. Schools that had a certain amount of postseason success over a two-year period now are moved up in class for at least a two-year period. In Indiana, the sports affected are baseball, basketball, football, soccer, softball and volleyball.

There are other states that have similar systems. Could the same system soon becoming to Illinois? It's possible.

Washington High School superintendent Jim Dunnan presented a proposal to the IHSA, which will form a committee to study it. IHSA assistant executive director Matt Troha said Dunnan's presentation centered around a point system in which schools earned postseason success over a three-year span. Troha said the IHSA will wait until late summer or fall to form the committee.

In Indiana, where sectionals take place before regionals, schools earn one point for a sectional title, two points for a regional championship, three for a state title game appearance and four for a state championship. The maximum amount of points a school can earn in one season is four. The IHSAA also uses a regional and sectional system for football, so the same rules apply for that sport.

If a school accumulates six points over a two-year span, it's moved up in class.

Soon, Illinois could possibly see a system similar to that of the state's eastern neighbor. Of course, Illinois already has the multiplier for private and non-boundaried schools, someting Indiana didn't have, and two years ago, the IHSA instituted a system where private school programs that weren't having success didn't have to be subject to the multiplier.

With that in place, Sycamore athletic director Chauncey Carrick doesn't see the need for change.

"It's kind of a catch-22. You have the Aurora Christians of the world, Montini, whoever else. Then you have other schools that are private and not having great success," Carrick said. "I think the system that's in place right now is pretty good. Obviously, Montini's been a thorn in our side in several sports, it's not going to change. I like the attitude our kids have taken. If we're going to be the best, we've got to find a way to beat them."

Spartans football coach Joe Ryan's team suffered a heartbreaking 24-22 loss to the Broncos in the Class 5A second round in November, and also was at the wrong end playoff losses to Montini in 2007, 2009 and 2010.

Montini is a school that certainly could be moved up in a tradition or success factor system (which would need a different kind of points system than other sports). He still doesn't want to see any more changes.

"You never think it's fair when you lose, certainly we'd like to have it a little bit different," Ryan said. "I don't think [a success factor system] is the way to do it."

A success factor system wouldn't only include private schools, and would affect other sports. Take softball for example. Glenbard South would be moved up to Class 4A after winning the past two 3A championships, while Marengo would be a 4A school as well with a 3A title in 2011 and being a runner-up last season.

Class 4A already is tough enough as it is. If Marengo were up a class, the Indians certainly would be another potential roadblock in DeKalb's road to postseason success.

"It would definitely get a lot tougher the whole way to the championship," Barbs softball coach Jeff Davis said. "The regional would be tough; the sectional would be tougher."

There's no way to make everybody happy. A success factor could help resolve some issues.

Or just create more.

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