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State begins investigation into how IHSA is run

State legislators convened a hearing today in Springfield investigating how the Illinois High School Association, the governing body for high school sports and other activities in the state, is run.

The size of the private, not-for-profit organization’s payroll was a key issue at the hearing — as was the size of the room in which it was held. The hearing was moved to a larger room after complaints, and at least one more hearing is expected to follow.

The hearings come after complaints from some school officials and lawmakers that IHSA should be giving a bigger cut of the money that it takes in from tournaments and other events to schools. IHSA also has come under fire in recent months for the way it has decided cases involving athletes’ and teams’ eligibility.

Our Chicago Sun-Times Watchdogs Chris Fusco and Michael O’Brien have done their own investigation this week into IHSA’s finances and followed the hearing today. Their updates are below.



IHSA Executive Director Martin Hickman reacts to the hearings looking into the IHSA and responds to the Chicago Sun-Times reporting on compensation for IHSA administrators.

Rep. Linda Chapa LaVia wraps up the first session of IHSA hearings.

Rep. Ken Dunkin confronts a heckler during hearings on IHSA.

Rep. Fred Crespo says IHSA reminds him of the NCAA.

After advocating for a bigger room and getting it, Rep. Dan Brady speaks out in support of the IHSA.

Rep. Barbara Wheeler asks IHSA Executive Director Martin Hickman if schools are forced to join his organization.

IHSA Executive Director Martin Hickman discusses the goals of the IHSA.

IHSA Executive Director Martin Hickman discusses the sponsors that support the IHSA.

Representatives Linda Chapa LaVia, Michael Unes and Ken Dunkin debate the value of holding hearings on the not-for-profit IHSA.

Once the committee found a more suitable room, Rep. Linda Chapa LaVia rejoined the proceedings and requested that some witnesses repeat the testimony that she had missed. The peanut gallery was not pleased.

The IHSA hearing went to recess after a number of representatives voiced displeasure with the small room that was chosen to hold the meeting. Watch Rep. Dan Brady voice that displeasure.

Get up to speed before the hearing: Chicago Sun-Times Watchdogs Chris Fusco and Michael O’Brien discuss their investigation into IHSA’s finances.



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