(Herald & Review (Decatur, IL) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) May 11--St. Teresa principal and CEO Ken Hendriksen would like to see the IHSA change its mind and do away with the Success Advancement step it enacted in February.
But Hendriksen has been around long enough to know that's not likely to happen. So, together with other members of ICOPS (Interscholastic Council of Private Schools), he came up with some tweaks to the rule. Hendriksen, Quincy Notre Dame principal Mark McDowell and St. Ignatius athletic director Jim Prunty presented the plan to the IHSA Board of Directors on April 22 at its board of directors meeting.
The plan proposes three changes to the success factor rule contained in Board Policy 17.
First, the success factor wouldn't "start the clock" until the next school year. As the policy is currently written, beginning next year the previous four years of results will be used to calculate the success advancement step. The proposed change would keep the success factor penalty from applying to any school unti 2018-19.
Second, the "non-bracketed sports" -- track, cross country and golf -- would not be included into the success factor.
Third, schools could not be bumped more than one class by the success factor.
"We went through the points and they listened," Hendriksen said. "(IHSA Executive Director) Marty Hickman was first class all the way -- you could tell he was listening and he had some good questions."
IHSA assistant executive director Matt Troha said the ad hoc committee that originally proposed the success factor has been discussing the proposed changes via email and sending their thoughts to Board members for consideration. Troha said he expects the Board to discuss the proposals and make their decisions at the June 16 meeting.
Hendriksen was optimistic, but said he also knew it could be an uphill battle.
"I honestly can't predict where it's going to go," Hendriksen said. "I do know that there are some public schools that don't like private schools. When I was a public school administrator, I know I never felt that way. And I'm not sure how you can look at our girls cross country program and think they're the evil empire."
The St. Teresa cross country team, if the success factor rule stays the same, will compete in Class 2A for the next four years because of its four straight Class 1A state titles.
Hendriksen said while he still didn't agree with the success factor in any form, and felt that it's particularly unfair to apply it to only non-boundaried schools, he said compromise was prudent.
"When (ICOPS) did its conference call, some of the schools didn't want to present a fallback and wanted to fight it," Hendriksen said. "I convinced them that we're not going to change the success factor. We're outnumbered. It made sense to ask for something reasonable, and I think that's what we did."
The proposed change Hendriksen was most fervent about was the first -- preventing the success factor from being applied retroactively. In the plan Hendriksen's group presented, their rationale was: "It seems eminent that the success component will not be changed any time soon; imposing the success factor 'retroactively' does not seem fair. New laws and new policies are implemented starting at a certain point and 'moving forward,' not regressively."
On the second proposed change, Hendriksen said including non-bracketed sports is unfair because the points generated by one or two great individuals can mean state medals and even state titles in sports like track, cross country and golf -- the only non-bracketed sports affected by the success factor rule.
ICOPS' rationale read: "Athletes that participate in 'individual' sports are impacted not only from their teams' class levels, but they individually are forced to compete for 'state places' against athletes from larger schools. Not 'placing' at a State event could affect scholarships for some smaller school athletes in track, cross country or golf."
The Success factor rule in football states that starting in 2015, schools will be moved up two classes if they've competed in three title games the last four years, and in 2016 they'll be moved up three classes if they've competed in four title games in four years.
Hendriksen said members of the ICOPS felt moving a school up multiple classes was unsafe. The rationale from the group was: "Smaller schools that are bumped up two classes with records of 6-3 and 5-4 could potentially face much larger schools with 9-0 and 8-1 records that have physically much stronger players."
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