There's already this thread
to talk about results and events in this year's IHSA Tournament, but I wanted to start a separate thread to deal with policies. I'll start by giving some basic descriptions, and everybody can decide what particular issues they want to talk about.
The tournament has over 500 teams split into two classes. The class boundary was changed this year, so instead of roughly 200 Class AA teams and 300 Class A teams, there will be roughly 250 of each. Teams from each class are assigned to eight Sectionals based on geography, and Seeding Meetings are held at the Sectional level. About 20% of coaches go to the Seeding Meeting, and the results are often sketchy. Each Sectional is broken into four Regionals based in part on seeding and in part on geography. Single elimination Regionals will happen tomorrow, reducing the number of teams to 32 in each class. Sectionals will happen on Saturday, with each site playing a four team round robin. The winner of each Sectional advances to State, using a paper tiebreaker if necessary. At State, the eight teams in each class are broken into two pools of four based on a very mysterious random draw. The winner of each pool plays for the Championship, while the runner up in each pool plays for 3rd Place. State is played in the Peoria Civic Center at the same time as the State Basketball Finals.
Each match is 24/24, shortened from the 30/30 that has been around since around 1990. Science is 5/5, with 4/4 coming from Bio, Chem and Physics. Math is 5/5, with 2-3 computational tossups. Social Studies is 5/5, with 3/3 coming from History. Language Arts is 5/5, with 4/4 coming from Literature. Fine Arts is 3/3, and Miscellaneous is 1/1.
IHSA has some unnecessary rules. Teams are penalized 30 points per match if they don't wear matching tops. Teams are disqualified if they have fewer than five players. Teams are only allowed to play 5-on-5 matches on one day after the IHSA Tournament. Teams cannot play against teams with college players at any point, though people from teams can do so.
The questions are written by a mysterious consortium. I was part of it this year, and I still don't know who wrote some of the questions and who some of the final editors were. Being part of the consortium is a very frustrating experience for a variety of reasons. Some of the writers aren't good. Some of the writers don't do their jobs. Some of the editors aren't good. This year's questions probably are better than they have been in past years, but there are mistakes, missing alternative correct answers, and questions that are just flat out bad. If you think that there will be consequences for such things, you are wrong, because the people in charge believe they do a great job. I was the Social Studies Editor. I was supposed to write zero questions, but I ended up writing 50 and helping to recruit somebody else to write 30. I have not seen the Current Events questions and don't know who wrote them. Still, like I said, this year's questions are better than they have been.
The issue of who moderates at State turns into a big disappointment each year. People do a good job and are not asked back, while others don't do a good job and are asked back.
IHSA Scholastic Bowl policies are determined largely by an Advisory Committee
that meets in April or May. The IHSSBCA Chair usually is invited but not given a vote, though I was not invited last year. Because of the timing, any proposals to make improvements for next year need to be written pretty soon after this year's tournament is over. (The same thing is true for Masonics, which has a committee that meets in April.) As their name implies, they are an Advisory Committee, meaning that anything they approve must get approved by a Legislative Committee consisting of school administrators before going into effect. As a general rule, this forces them to only approve motions that are revenue neutral or better. There are a small number of items, such as season limitations, that would require a statewide vote of School Principals to change. That being said, the rules of the game are what they are because of decisions made over the years by the Advisory Committee, and primarily by coaches on the Advisory Committee.
Anybody interested in more details should look at the resources found here
. Many teams exists because the IHSA Tournament exists. It is not logical for large numbers of average to below average team to exist because of a tournament whose first three rounds are single elimination, but so it goes.
EDIT: Lest I forget, the bonuses parts are read all at once, with teams given 30 seconds to confer.