At its August 24 meeting, the Illinois High School Association Board of Directors adopted a hate speech policyj.
The policy — which will be in effect at all IHSA state series contests — gives game officials the authority to immediately eject anyone they witness committing an act of hate speech or harassment. If a player reports an incident to their coach, officials can be informed at the next stoppage of play and address the alleged incident with the accused person. If the alleged offender admits to it, the player will then be ejected; otherwise a warning is issued and a school’s disciplinary policies are enacted. Within 24 hours athletic directors of the schools must meet the involved parties and inform the IHSA of the outcome of their investigation.
Under these guidelines, an ejection automatically results in a suspension of the next contest. The rules apply only to state series. Regular-season contests are not covered by these rules.
“The IHSA has not and will not tolerate hate speech, and this new Policy helps further reiterate our position that black lives matter. But hate speech goes beyond racism. It can be a verbal or non-verbal action aimed at an individual’s gender, sexual orientation, race, religion, creed, and beyond," said IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson. "This policy is addressing hate speech at its core with the goal of educating everyone involved. It goes well beyond the scope of the game. Previously, incidents of hate speech would have fallen on game officials seeing or hearing an inappropriate action live, and then using their game rules to assess the appropriate unsporting penalty. If hate speech occurs, it will be addressed immediately at the contest, and then follow-up education will occur with the team and coach. This is a timely addition given some of the recent events in our country, but it has actually been in the works for several months."