STEVE HANLON: Goodbye wave from Illiana doesn't mean hello waive from IHSAA

2014-03-20T17:00:00Z 2014-04-15T19:44:20Z STEVE HANLON: Goodbye wave from Illiana doesn't mean hello waive from IHSAASteve Hanlon Prep Beat nwitimes.com
March 20, 2014 5:00 pm  • 

On Monday history could be made in Lansing. Illiana Christian High School will take a vote to see if its history and geography will change.

Either stay in Illinois or move to a rural plot of real estate in southwest Lake County? A yes and they move. A no and the Vikings stay put. My guess is the yeses will prevail.

So what happens next? It will likely take two years for the new school to be built, west of US 41 near Exchange Avenue. The Vikings will still compete in the IHSA during this building time.

But according to IHSAA by-laws, new schools must wait four years before being eligible to participate in postseason tournaments. That's a lot of student athletes who would go to high school and never have a chance to play in a sectional.

For you Land of Lincolners, the sectional is the first round of postseason play in Indiana, not the second. And, of course, Larry Bird was better than Michael Jordan.

Also, John Mellencamp is better than R. Kelly, but like the Chicago-born rapper, I digress. Sorry. Let me continue.

Jason Wille, sports information director of the IHSAA, knows the area near "Shoe Corner" where Illiana's new school could be built. The Crown Point native, however, has never heard of a school either entering or leaving Indiana before.

Several Illiana coaches told The Times on Wednesday that the school, if the vote goes through, will ask the IHSAA for a waiver to shorten the four-year postseason wait.

It makes sense to me, doesn't it?

Wille said that Illiana principal Peter Boonstra has talked with IHSAA commissioner Bobby Cox about the potential move. Cox explained the process and said there would still be a four-year waiting period if their application was approved by the IHSAA Executive Committee.

They could ask to present their case to the Executive Committee to request a waiver.

Wille said another school, Anderson Prep Academy, asked Cox for a waiver for postseason play and was denied. APA is a full member of the IHSAA but will not compete in the postseason until 2015-16.

Would Illiana get a different outcome because it is a long-time member of the IHSA and in good standing? Maybe. I think that is much different than a start-up school.

And this potential move is so outside the box, it should deserve an outside the box response.

"They're going to have to talk to our commissioner and Executive Committee about that," Wille said.

Wille pointed out that downstate Illinois school Mt. Carmel joined an Indiana conference, the Big 8, a few years back. That was rare but this league has nothing to do with the postseason.

Illiana currently competes in the Metro Suburban Conference. If Monday's vote is yes, the Vikings will likely be looking for a new league in Hoosierland. If I were them the Greater South Shore Conference is who I'd call first.

Illiana has 543 students this year. The GSSC would be a perfect fit, except for football. The Vikings don't have a team. But in every other sport it would be a very good fit.

I am guessing that Illiana will be moving east. I welcome the move. It's a great school with a very strong foundation. There will be some adjusting, but with many of the students already living in Indiana it shouldn't take long to start singing "Pink Houses."

Let's hope it doesn't take four years.

This column solely represents the writer's opinion. Reach him at steve.hanlon@nwi.com.

Copyright 2014 nwitimes.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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