IHSA - protect our contact sport players with common sense weekly playing time rules.

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Christine kilkenny
Christine kilkenny signed this petition

The Illinois High School Association recently updated Policy 13 of its Handbook, which addresses football player safety.  Policy 13 defines limits on the amount and type of daily practice for football players during the summer and throughout the football season.  It now includes these weekly playing time limits for the football season:

  1. A player shall not play in more than 2 games in any one week, and shall not play in more than one game in a single day. For the purposes of this section, a week is defined as the seven-day period running from Friday through the following Thursday. (It is recommended that if a player does play in 2 games in a given week, one of those games is only as a one-way player. [i.e., only plays on offense or defense or special teams])
  2. Players cannot play in games on consecutive days or be involved in live contact/thud in practice the day after playing in a game.
  3. 1 play in a game equals a game played.

NOTE: If a player plays in a game that is stopped due to weather or other circumstances and completed the next day, the player can participate in the resumed game the following day.


This means that a player who is in a Friday night football game for even 1 play is ineligible to play in the Saturday morning JV game.  


In the interest of player development and reasonable opportunity for playing time, we are asking the IHSA to reconsider the definition of a “football week” and “game played”.  A group of Illinois football coaches and athletic directors have recommended the following:

  • A football week is defined as the seven-day period running from Thursday through Wednesday.
  • Player plays at least 1 offensive play in a quarter - counts as a quarter
  • Player plays at least 1 defensive play in a quarter - counts as a quarter
  • Players will be allowed to play a maximum of 4 quarters on any one day/night
  • Players may not participate in more than 6 quarters on consecutive days and/or in a week.
  • Participation on special teams only counts as 1 quarter played per game, if a special teams player plays one down on offense or defense that counts as another quarter played.  Special Teams are defined and limited to Kickoff, Kickoff Return, Punt, Punt Return, Field Goal and Extra Point Kicking Teams.  
  • If a 40-point differential in the 2nd half results in a running clock, any play will count as 1 quarter played.
  • If a player plays in a game that is stopped/postponed due to weather or other circumstances and completed the next day, players can participate in the resumed game the following day.
  • Overtime will be a continuation as an extension of the 4th quarter. 

The key change is the shift from 1 play = 1 game of play, to 1 play = 1 quarter of play.  This is further augmented by outlining that no player can play more than 6 quarters in consecutive days. 


We believe these proposed changes still result in aggressive and appropriate playing time limits in the interest of player safety.  They also allow all dedicated student athletes who work hard the opportunity to realize their goal of playing in a varsity football game and making a contribution to their team on the field.