IHSA faces scrutiny in Springfield

May 20, 2014

The organization that coordinates Illinois high school sports and activities was under scrutiny Tuesday in Springfield. As Hannah Meisel reports, lawmakers want the Illinois High School Association to be more transparent, but the not-for-profit group is pushing back.

While Illinois high schools are not required to become IHSA members, the organization does run the major statewide competitions.

Representative Ken Dunkin, a Democrat from Chicago, says he's worried about the de facto requirement to participate in IHSA, since the private organization makes money off its members. He says since most IHSA members are public high schools, the group's money comes from tax dollars, without much state oversight.

"It's a quasi-public entity that generates over $11 million every year ... They should have a FOIA. If they're benefitting from public — the contracts we should see, the relationships, absolutely, what's wrong with that?"

But Marty Hickman, IHSA's executive director, says the organization's current level of transparency aligns with other not-for-profits, known as 501(c)(3)s.

"I don't see there's any reason for IHSA specifically to act differently than any other 501(c)(3)."

Asked whether he's against putting IHSA under more direct state jurisdiction, Hickman would not say.