for Sports Professionals

Providing Content for Sports Officials, Coaches, and Athletes

Successful Officiating is Aided by Defining IHSA Values, Vision, Mission, and Strategic Priorities




The IHSA serves member schools by providing leadership for equitable participation in interscholastic activities that enrich the educational experience.


Mission Statement:

Opportunity for boys and girls to represent their school and community as they participate in interscholastic activities is a privilege unique to young people in American education. Why? Because educators across the USA believe that participation in interscholastic activities offers students significant lifetime learning experiences that cannot be duplicated in any other instructional setting.

The purpose of the IHSA is to provide leadership for the development, supervision and promotion of good sportsmanship in interscholastic competition and other activities in which its member schools choose to engage. Participation in such interscholastic activities offers eligible students experiences in an educational setting which provide enrichment to the educational experience.


1. IHSA believes equal opportunity and access must be provided for all it serves.

2. IHSA believes that interscholastic athletics and activities are an integral component of secondary education.

3. IHSA believes in respect, appreciation, and acceptance of diversity.

4. IHSA believes each individual’s involvement and acceptance of personal responsibility is critical to achieving outcomes.

5. IHSA believes that sportsmanship is a core value and its promotion and practice are essential.

6. IHSA believes that each member school is equal and equally important to the association’s existence.

7. IHSA believes that equality and fairness must be safeguarded at all cost.

8. IHSA believes all persons involved in interscholastic activities need to be positive role models.

9. IHSA believes each individual is important and that striving to reach one’s full potential is the measure of success.

10. IHSA believes effective communication promotes knowledge, understanding, and collaboration.

11. IHSA believes in the pursuit of excellence.

12. IHSA believes that to remain effective it must be a self-governing organization where each member school must take responsibility for the enforcement of all rules and regulations.

13. IHSA believes integrity and honesty are non-negotiable.


Strategies: Future Goals

1. IHSA will increase the number of registered officials in the state of Illinois.

2. IHSA will review and establish training programs for officials.

3. IHSA will increase the number of women and minorities in all entities of the IHSA.

4. IHSA will review present and future facility needs.

5. IHSA will review present and future staffing needs.

6. IHSA will review current educational and informational programs sponsored by the IHSA and increase attendance by official representatives.

7. IHSA will review sportsmanship programs and increase participation by member schools.

8. IHSA will provide more equitable promotion and recognition of interscholastic activities.

9. IHSA will increase the number of participation opportunities for students in IHSA

interscholastic activities.

10. IHSA will increase and improve two-way communication between the IHSA office and its member schools.

11. IHSA will review the problems associated with out-of-season participation in interscholastic activities.


Supplemental Strategies:

  • IHSA believes each individual is important
  • Review IHSA promotions and special events
  • Analyze revenue generation and appropriation
  • Increase the number of women and minorities in all entities of the IHSA
  • Review the effectiveness of IHSA communications
  • Review public/private school issues
  • Review structure, governance and operational procedures of the Association Review training programs, recruitment and retention of officials
  • Review equity practices within the Association



Good sportsmanship is the attitude and behavior that exemplifies positive support for the interscholastic programs of IHSA member schools, as well as for the individuals who participate in such programs. People involved in all facets of the interscholastic program are expected to demonstrate respect for others and display good sportsmanship.

Improving sportsmanship remains one of our highest priorities. By-laws 6.011 and 6.012 are a part of the continuing efforts of IHSA member schools to improve sportsmanship. This brochure contains information designed to enhance your understanding of the new sportsmanship by-laws. We urge you to read it carefully and hope you will remember to SPORT A WINNING ATTITUDE when involved in interscholastic contests.


Code of Ethics/ Declaration of Policy:

Schools have entrusted us to assist them in the educational development of their youth through athletics. The proper operation of such a process requires that officials be independent, impartial and responsible to people they serve. In recognition of these expectations there is hereby established a Code of Ethics for all officials. The purpose of the code is to establish guidelines for ethical standards of conduct for all officials.

An Official must devote time, thought and study to the rules of the game and the mechanics necessary to carry out these rules so that one may render effective and creditable service in a fair and unbiased manner.

An Official must work with fellow officials and the state association in a spirit of harmony and cooperation in spite of differences of opinion that may arise during debate of points or rules at issue.

An Official must resist every temptation and outside pressure to use one’s position as an official to benefit oneself. Under all circumstances, officials must avoid promoting the special interest of any person or group of persons other than the athletes we serve.

An Official must constantly uphold the honor and dignity of the avocation in all personal conduct and relations with the student-athletes, coaches, athletic directors, school administrators, colleagues, and the public, to be a worthy example to the athletes under one’s jurisdiction.

An Official will be prepared both physically and mentally, dress according to expectations, and maintain a proper appearance that is befitting the importance of the game.

The Official shall avoid the use of tobacco products at the contest site.

An Official must remember and recognize that it is important to honor contracts regardless of possible inconvenience or financial loss.


Every member of the officiating profession carries a responsibility to act in a manner becoming a professional person. The conduct of any official influences the attitude of the public toward the profession in general as well as toward the official in particular.




1.110 This Association shall be known as the Illinois High School Association (IHSA).

1.120 It shall be the purpose of this Association to provide leadership for the development, supervision and promotion of interscholastic competition and other activities in which its member schools engage. Participation in such interscholastic activities offers eligible students experiences in an educational setting which may provide enrichment to the educational experience.

1.130 This Association through the employment of the instrumentalities hereinafter established shall:

(a) supervise and regulate all of the interscholastic activities in which its member schools may engage; and

(b) perform such other functions related to interscholastic activities as may from time to time be approved and adopted by the membership.

1.140 In the performance of these functions, the objectives of the Association shall be:

(a) to stress the educational importance, the cultural values, the appreciations and skills involved in all interscholastic activities and to promote cooperation and friendship;

(b) to regulate interscholastic programs in both character and quantity in regard to the generally accepted objectives of secondary education and so they shall not unduly interfere with nor abridge the regular program of teachers and students in the performance of their regular day-to-day school duties;

(c) to encourage economy in the time of the student and teacher personnel devoted to interscholastic activities;

(d) to encourage economy in expenses of interscholastic activities;

(e) to promote only those activities which enhance the accomplishment of desired educational goals.




IHSA by-laws provide the standard by which the Executive Director is authorized to rule in determining eligibility. Following is a brief resume of the principle points of philosophy which underscore the rules of the Association:

1. Participation in interscholastic athletics is a privilege provided for students who meet democratically established standards for qualification.

2. Participation in interscholastic athletics is a privilege which should fundamentally be available to bona fide students in school districts where they live full time with their parents, custodial parent or legal guardian appointed by a court of proper jurisdiction.

3. Standards governing eligibility are a necessary prerequisite to participation in interscholastic athletics, because:

a. they protect the opportunities of bona fide resident students to participate;

b. they provide a fundamentally fair and equitable framework in which interscholastic athletic competition in an educational setting can take place;

c. they provide uniform standards for all schools to follow in maintaining equitable athletic competition;

d. they support the education philosophy that athletics is a privilege which must not be permitted to assume a dominant position in a school’s program;

e. they keep the focus of educators and students on the fact that students attend school to receive an education first and participate in athletics second;

f. they maintain the fundamental principle that a high school student should live at home with the parents and attend school in the school district in which the parents/guardians live;

g. they reinforce the view that the family is a strong and viable unit in our society, and as such, is the best place for students to live while attending high school;

h. they prevent “district hopping” or “shopping around” for schools or athletic programs which may suit an individual’s personal interests;

i. they serve as a deterrent to individuals who would seek to recruit student-athletes to attend a particular school for the purpose of building athletic strength;

j. they serve as a deterrent to students running away from minor discipline problems or similar conflicts;

k. they protect school programs from losing students who have an identity as athletes and, as such, are contributors to the overall school program and image.


Violations of the by-laws can cause students and/or schools to incur penalties of ineligibility or other action up to and including expulsion from membership in the Association.