Football News

Football News

Crew Availability Sheet

Please use the attached form to communicate your availability for the 2017 Football Season.  Print out the form, fill it out and follow the instructions at the bottom of the form to submit.  Click Here for the Form

Pre-Season Message from the IHSA 2017

Here are a few reminders/updates for you.

  • The IHSA Part 1 rules exam and rules video are available now in the Officials Center.  Be sure to complete both requirements soon.  The deadline is September 12.
  • All new officials are also required to pass the concussion exam.  This is a state law.  Officials are not listed in the IHSA directory until they have passed the concussion exam.  Officials who passed this exam last year do not need to retake it this year.  You will need to retake it before the 2018-19 school year.
  • If you are seeking promotion to Recognized or Certified, the deadline to apply for promotion is September 1.  You can learn more information about the promotion process in the Officials Center.
  • The NFHS adjusted some case plays regarding new rule 3-4-7.  When a penalty is accepted with less than two minutes remaining in either half, the offended team will have the option to start the game clock on the snap.  (The case plays dealt with fouls on free kicks.  Since there is no snap on a free kick, some of the language in the case plays didn’t make sense.  I attached a document from the NFHS that provides clarity to these types of plays.)  Click Here to Review the Document
  • This year, football crews are allowed to use communication devices on the field.  I attached a document with information regarding the use of communication devices.  This information also appears in the rules video.  Click Here to Review the Document
  • Please check your crew listing in the Officials Center.  If your crew has changed and needs updated, please e-mail me with the changes so your crew is listed properly in our database.

Thanks for all you do for our schools and our kids.  Have a great season!

Sam Knox
Assistant Executive Director
Illinois High School Association

Mid-Season Football Message from the IHSA

Dear Football Officials:

As we pass the halfway point of the 2016 football season, the IHSA wants to share several key items and comments with you regarding football-specific rules and issues that continue to raise questions from officials and coaches.


Jerseys must completely cover the shoulder pads and all pads worn above the waist on the torso. (Rule 1-5-1 b. 1.).  As long as pads are covered at the snap of the ball, the jerseys meet the rule, and officials should not penalize these teams.  However, if officials notice in pregame warmups that a significant number of players are wearing jerseys that will not cover the shoulder pads, no matter what remedy the team uses, officials are to assess an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty against the head coach to start the game.  Continue to play the game, despite one team wearing illegal jerseys.  Officials should file a Special Report in the Officials Center in these situations.

Players must wear pants and knee pads that cover the knees (Rule 1-5-1 d. 2.).  We all understand that when players are involved in a live ball play, their pants sometimes slide up, exposing their knees.  However, when a player is standing still, if officials notice the player’s knees are not covered by the pants and knee pads, the officials should remove the player from the game until he is wearing legal pants with his knees covered.

Jerseys with words (FAMILY, TRADITION, HONOR, etc.) other than the school’s nickname, school logo, school name, and/or player name are illegal (Rule 1-5-1 b. 2. a.).  However, since they aren’t a player safety concern, some schools’ jerseys have been approved through the IHSA office.  These schools have indicated to the IHSA that they will purchase new jerseys for 2017.  Do not penalize schools for wearing these jerseys in 2016.


Officials need to be 1,000% certain that a play or situation is worthy of an ejection because IHSA by-laws do not allow ejections to be appealed or overturned.  Additionally, officials are required to file a Special Report in the Officials Center within 24 hours of the game.   After the officials file the Special Report, they need to check their Officials Center Reports Index to make sure the report was sent to the IHSA.  Officials are not allowed to review video of the game to determine if their on-field decision was accurate.  Thus, they need to be 1,000% sure of the details of the play that led to the ejection.  In the Special Report, officials need to describe the events that happened on the field in a factual manner without adding their opinion.


Lightning delays can be frustrating, but game administration, coaches, and officials need to work together to ensure the safety of everyone at the game.  The decision on whether or not to kick off the game ultimately rests with the home team administration.  The IHSA highly encourages the administration to consult with all parties involved (visiting team administration, both head coaches, and officials) prior to making a decision.  However, once the game kicks off, all of those mentioned above (administration, coaches, and officials) maintain the responsibility to stop the game if they notice lightning or hear thunder.  Schools can use a lightning detection system to assist in their decision-making process only if the school has a policy that defines the system they are allowed to use in these situations.


All fields need to be properly marked.  Therefore, it is important for officials to walk the field during pregame warmups.  Officials should communicate issues that need attention to the athletic director and/or head coach prior to the game.  Common issues we encounter are the lack of a shadow line through a mid-field logo and yard lines and hash marks that touch the sidelines. Crew chiefs should file a Special Report in the Officials Center regarding fields that are not properly marked.


The IHSA drone policy is very simple.  If the home team allows drones to fly over the field, then both teams may use a drone during the game.  If the home team does not allow drones, then neither team can use drones.  To avoid surprises, it is wise to ask the AD in advance or ask the head coaches in the pregame conference if either team will use a drone during the game.  In the IHSA postseason, drones are not allowed.


Crew chiefs need to inform the IHSA of crew changes, especially if your crew is a playoff crew.  E-mail crew changes and updates to Sam Knox at the IHSA as soon as possible.

Sam Knox
Assistant Executive Director
Illinois High School Association

From the IHSA Regarding Football Jerseys – 8/29/16

Here is update with a couple more schools’ jerseys that have been identified by the IHSA. Be sure to read the last paragraph of Sam’s email. Remeber that this restriction applies only to the varsity team. All lower level teams are impacted by words on the front of back of the jerseys. If you encounter a school that has jerseys with words on them that are not proper, tell the coach. There is NO penalty BUT you must send a Special Report form to the IHSA. Again, only on the varsity level.

Here are two more jerseys that might catch officials’ attention.

  • Chicago Bulls College Prep – Their jerseys say SCHOLARSHIP, HONOR, and DISCIPLINE on the back. They can wear these jerseys in 2016.
  • Chicago St. Ignatius – Their jerseys have CCL on the back for Chicago Catholic League. In my view, this falls under the Note in the rule book that allows commemorative patches that don’t exceed 4 square inches. St. Ignatius can wear these jerseys in 2016. However, if the CCL is larger than 4 square inches, St. Ignatius will need to purchase new jerseys for 2017.

Just to reiterate, if officials notice other teams wearing varsity jerseys that say something besides their school name, mascot, school logo, or player name, they should communicate with the coach that the jerseys are not legal. Officials should not penalize teams for these jerseys or attempt to alter the jerseys to meet the rule. Officials should encourage the coach to contact the IHSA.

Sam Knox
Assistant Executive Director
Illinois High School Association

* Also see article below on Football Jerseys

From the IHSA Regarding Football Jerseys – 8/29/16

Hoffman Estates wears jerseys that read STRENGTH and HONOR. They are allowed to wear them at the Varsity level in 2016, without penalty. They join the list with Glenbard West, Tinley Park Andrew, and Lake Villa Lakes as schools that have formally asked our office for exceptions to this rule. If officials notice other teams at the Varsity level that are wearing jerseys that display words beside the school name, mascot name, or player name, they should discuss it with the head coach, but officials are not to assess a penalty in this situation. Following the game, officials should send a Special Report to the IHSA. ​This is a non-issue for any lower level teams. Lower levels are allowed to wear jerseys with words on the front or back.


IHSA Guidelines for Football Breast Cancer Awareness

Football “Pink” Guidelines:

PINK:  When your crew chooses to recognize Breast Cancer Awareness with pink officiating accessories, please work within the following guidelines:

  • Pink Whistles allowed
  • Pink bean bags allowed
  • Pink Wrist bands allowed
  • Pink trimmed hats allowed

The IHSA prefers that we stay with the generally recognized colored equipment that includes a yellow flag and appropriate hat color.  I want the “white hat” to be recognized accordingly on the crew with fellow crew members in black hats.  If you have questions, please feel free to contact the IHSA.

Message from Craig Anderson – Week #4  2015 – Update

Football Officials:

Welcome to Week #4 of the regular season!  I hope your season is going well.  I have a couple of reminders for this week:

  • When applying an unsportsmanlike penalty to a head coach for not having his team available on field for the 3 minute warm-up, the proper procedure would be to flag and hold the 3 minutes on the clock until the team arrives.  When the team does arrive to the field, begin the 3 minute warm-up period and proceed with the second half accordingly.  There are no specific rule requirements regarding the activities of the team during the 3 minutes as long as the team has reported to the field of play.
  • I have received a question regarding the proper field goal mechanic for long field goals.  When a field goal attempt is eminent when the LOS is at the 25 yard line or beyond, only the back judge will be under the goal post.  The wings will remain on the sidelines.
  • Crew chiefs – please be sure your crew is listed accurately in your officials center area.  If there are errors, please email Craig Anderson with corrections at  The snapshot of crews for play-off assigning will be happening soon.
  • Good luck with the weather in your area!

Yours in football,

Craig Anderson
Assistant Executive Director, IHSA

Message from Craig Anderson – Week #3 2015 – Update and Preparation

Greetings football officials:

I want to clarify a few items that have been brought to my attention:

  • The IHSA does not endorse any of our football officials using wireless communication during their contests.  This is not a system that has been recommended for use during the regular or post season.
  • IHSA licensed officials working IHSA member school contests should be working football games in 1” stripe shirts per the officials handbook.  There is no plan in the near future to change the officials uniform in football.
  • IHSA officials have no rules basis for telling coaches that certain players should be removed from the contest for any period of time with the exception of an ejection.  When a player is ejected from the contest by rule, that player will not return for the duration of the contest and a special report should be submitted to the IHSA office.
  • When a ball carrier’s helmet comes off during a live ball play, the play should be whistled dead immediately with the ball spotted where the ball carrier had possession at the moment he lost his helmet.
  • When a stadium/field has 25 second clocks that require reset and starting/stopping from a handheld wireless device, it is my recommendation that someone other than the officiating crew man this device.  This should not be the responsibility of the Back Judge as he has too much to do in between plays than to add that additional responsibility.   I will do my best to communicate this expectation to our football playing schools as soon as possible.

Enjoy the great experience of being a part of high school football!  You have a tremendous responsibility that does not go unnoticed.  If you haven’t already, I would encourage you to review my thoughts coming out of last weekend and the actions of players in San Antonio, Texas.  My remarks are available at this link:

Yours in football,

Craig Anderson
Assistant Executive Director, IHSA
(309) 663-6377

Message from Craig Anderson- Week #3 2015

Welcome to week #2 of the high school football regular season!

I appreciate everyone’s good work and attention to player safety.  As we deal with some high temperatures and humidity this weekend, please make sure to allow for official time-outs during the game to allow for the hydration of players and officials.  I would suggest communicating your plan for this during your pre-game meeting with head coaches.

I have had some recent questions about locations of and use of technology.  As per rule 1-6-2, this is allowed on the sideline.  It has been brought to my attention that some teams have videographers who are making their way from the coaching box to the back of the end zone and interchanging these locations to share video on their sideline.  I don’t expect the officials to prevent or penalize these actions by a team.  As long as the videographer is outside the restraining line and is not coaching players while outside the team box or interfering with your job officiating, you can disregard this activity outside the field of play.

Have a safe and enjoyable holiday weekend!

Yours in football,

Craig Anderson
Assistant Executive Director, IHSA
(309) 663-6377

Football  Rule Changes and Pints of Emphasis NFHS – 2016

Football  Rule Changes NFHS – 2015

Football Points of Emphasis – 2015

AOS Football Availability Sheet

Jim has requested the any member or guest that does not have a full football schedule complete and return to him an AOS football availability sheet for 2016. To download, click here