No IHSA State Series in 2014
Once again, the number of lacrosse teams willing to participate in an IHSA-sponsored state series in 2014 fell short of the minimums required for sanctioning. 2014 will instead be business as usual for the IHSLA as they conduct their own playoffs and championship games.
The IHSA set December 15, 2013 as a deadline for Athletic Directors to formally declare their intent to participate in an IHSA lacrosse state series in 2014. The IHSA requires a minimum participation of 65 boys teams and 45 girls teams to trigger their sponsorship of the sport. While there will be 90 boys teams and 48 girls schools fielding teams this season, the number willing to participate in an IHSA state series is far fewer.
There are many reasons some high school lacrosse teams choose not to participate in an IHSA state series. Some programs are young and either don't have a varsity team or lack the experience to compete against the well-established lacrosse powerhouses. Others prefer not to extend their season into playoffs for academic reasons. Most of the holdouts, however, are schools within districts whose bylaws mandate taxpayer funding for sports teams participating in IHSA-sponsored sports. Budget constraints often prohibit these schools from expanding their sports programs and instead prefer to keep lacrosse as a parent-funded club sport.
The Illinois High School Lacrosse Association (IHSLA) will continue to conduct its own playoffs and championship games this upcoming season. The IHSLA playoffs will remain split between an A division vying for the State Championship and a B division vying for the Lacrosse Cup.