Bolingbrook runs out of the tunnel before Class 8A playoffs action between Oswego at Bolingbrook. Nov 8. Gary E Duncan Sr for Shaw Media.
Bolingbrook runs out of the tunnel before Class 8A playoffs action between Oswego at Bolingbrook. Nov 8. Gary E Duncan Sr for Shaw Media. — Gary E Duncan Sr for Shaw Media

Membership schools reversed a vote that would have designated that a district football system be put into play for the 2021 season on Tuesday.

Schools voted by a 374-241 margin (with 87 abstentions) to keep the current playoff system in place.

“There is incredible passion for high school football in our state, and the subject of football district scheduling has been no exception,” said IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson said in a news release. “Many coaches and communities were excited about the prospect of district scheduling when the vote passed a year ago, just like many are excited today that it will ultimately not occur in 2021. We do not expect the discussion surrounding football regular-season scheduling and the playoff structure to dissipate, so we will be charged with continuing to facilitate discussion and ideas among our member school coaches and administrators.”

The original districting proposal passed last December by a 324-307 vote (with 69 abstentions). But the proposal lacked specifics as to how it would be implemented, leading to a lot of speculation about what may or may happen inside the system.

It also included an addendum to allow out of district games to be played, but would not count toward playoff qualification, which was widely panned.

In May, the IHSA released a potential "mock-up" of the district system which also seemed to have a lot of logistical problems that seemed to spark another round of concern if whether or not the district system was the right path to take.

11-man football squads also continue to deplete the number of membership schools available to implement a district system as was suggested. Playoff eligible teams dipped below 512 teams last year, which would have required the addition of teams currently not eligible to play playoff football to make a field of the minimum required to make eight classes, each with districts of at least eight teams.

86.5 percent of all member schools participated in the by-law proposal process (702 of 812), the highest participation level since tabulation began in 2010.