(NEWTON/OLNEY) Illinois High School Association member schools have approved a dramatic change to the state’s current football regular season and playoff scheduling system. Proposal 23 was approved by 17 votes (324-307), although 69 schools did not vote either way. The plan essentially charges the IHSA with scheduling the majority of regular-season football games for its member schools while also changing the playoff qualification process. Beginning in the fall of 2021, the IHSA will assign football teams to eight or nine team districts based on classification and geography, which means that statewide conferences as we have known them over the past, will no longer exist. The IHSA will assign each school’s regular-season games against their district opponents in a round robin format and the districts will be set for two years, allowing home and away scheduling within the district. Schools can then schedule non-district opponents for any open weeks, but those non-district games will not count toward playoff qualification. The district assigning process will be similar to how schools are currently assigned to Regionals and Sectionals in other IHSA sports and activities. It’s a change that’s been promoted for years by larger and suburban schools and had previously been voted down in the past. Be listening for more information and details on the IHSA 2021 Football changes in the months and weeks ahead. For more, go online at www.ihsa.org.