New IHSA rule intended to crack down on transfers passes

Schools around the state have approved an addition to the Illinois High School Association’s recruiting rule.

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Wilmington captains Dominic Dingillo (59) and Allan Richards (20) hoist the IHSA 2A sate championship trophy in 2021.

Wilmington captains Dominic Dingillo (59) and Allan Richards (20) hoist the IHSA 2A sate championship trophy in 2021.

Allen Cunningham/For the Sun-Times

Schools around the state have approved an addition to the Illinois High School Association’s recruiting rule.

Administrators from three south suburban schools — Andrew, Sandburg and Stagg — wrote and submitted the proposal, which modifies IHSA bylaw 3.070, Recruiting of Athletes. This new sentence will be added to the bylaw:

“School personnel, particularly coaches or athletic directors, may not engage in any conversation related to athletic participation with individuals representing or employed by private athletic organizations (eg. AAU, club/travel teams, etc.) who are speaking about or on behalf of any student athlete.”

According to the IHSA 513 of 813 schools voted on the proposal. A simple majority was required to pass the rule. 327 schools were for the proposal, 145 against and 41 abstained.

Young basketball coach Tyrone Slaughter, who coaches club basketball in Thornton coach Tai Streets’ Meanstreets AAU organization, has issues with the new rule.

“The is probably as short-sighted and petulant a rule as I’ve ever seen,” Slaughter said. “The ambiguity is so wide that it can’t be interpreted. They should really be ashamed of themselves for what they attempted to do.”

Steve Schanz, Sandburg’s athletic director, says the sentence is “purposely vague.”

“This is a first step,” Schanz said. “The key is the quid pro quo where people are saying if you hire me you are going to get these guys on your team. There are a number of schools where you see coaches get hired and then you see one high-profile guy or five guys go there.”

IHSA rules already prohibit any recruiting for athletic reasons, but it is increasingly rare for any athletes that transfer to be ruled ineligible at all or for more than 30 days.

“We have schools that are flat out breaking the rules and they are flaunting it,” Schanz said. “Getting something on the books about this is a step in the right direction. Especially if there is a way we can add to it in the coming years based on reality and what is going on. Coaches are fed up.”

More than 100 boys basketball players transferred over the summer. Some high-profile basketball teams have starting lineups composed primarily of transfers.

“Maybe there are some schools that are doing it just to keep up?” Schanz said. “That’s sad. They are opening up Pandora’s box, all for the glory. Maybe this proposal gives them the opportunity to stop it.”

Seven other proposals were passed, including new language to the IHSA’s Name, Image and Likeness rule and an increase in the contribution schools can make towards state championship rings. It has been raised from $200 to $300.

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