The Illinois High School Association governs many sports and activities in Illinois, including Illinois Scholastic Bowl.
The IHSA started sponsoring a Scholastic Bowl State Tournament in 1986-7, with Quincy beating Salem in the first ever Championship Match. In 1991-92, IHSA split into two classes, with Rockridge winning the first Class A (small school) Championship.
Though its recommendations need to be approved by administrative committees, most decisions regarding IHSA Scholastic Bowl are made by the Scholastic Bowl Advisory Committee, which consists of one representative from each of the seven districts across the state. The Advisory Committee has one closed meeting per year in April or May, run by the IHSA Administrator, Ron McGraw, where the members present and vote on rule change recommendations. Decisions made by the Advisory Committee are usually encoded into the Terms & Conditions, Rule Book, and Case Manual, but in both 2012 and 2013, some higher-up level rejected the elimination of language arts questions despite that having been approved by the committee. Until about 2002, the only one of these documents to exist was the Terms & Conditions.
Many of the Advisory Committee rules have to do with match format. In 2012-13, IHSA switched to a bonus format similar to NSC in which bonus parts are read one part at a time, and each bonus has three parts worth ten points each, with bouncebacks. Before that, bonuses were read with all parts at once, teams had 30 seconds to confer, there were a variable number of parts, and bonuses were worth a total of 20 points. The IHSA distribution includes a lot of math, much of which is computational, and some bad miscellaneous subcategories. Teams must have exactly five students to prevent disqualification. If a team does not wear matching tops, then their opponent is given 30 points. All tossups are worth 10 points, with no powers or negs, and bonuses bounceback.
The tournament seeds the top eight teams in each Sectional, plays a single-elimination Regional, plays a round-robin Sectional with head-to-head as the first tiebreaker, and plays pools at State, which has been held in the Peoria Civic Center since 1997.
Since 2001 the IHSA has hired a secret cabal to write its questions. In 2001 and 2002 the editor was Tom Egan, who proposed that system; since then the editor has been Sister John Baricevic. In 2013 the set contained several plagiarized questions, which was the subject of the IHSA plagiarism scandal. For about a decade prior to 2001, the questions were provided by Answers Plus.
Writers who have admitted their involvement with the IHSA writing process include the following:
- Sister John Baricevic (editor, 2003–)
- Tom Egan (editor, 2001–02; writer in some other years)
- Jonah Greenthal (2010–12)
- Matt Laird (2010–11)
- Greg Peterson (2013)
- Shawn Pickrell (several years, specifics unknown)
- David Reinstein (2012-13; fired for reporting plagiarism in 2013)
- Kristin Strey (2011)
- Donald Taylor (several years, specifics unknown)
- Kelly Tourdot (several years, specifics unknown)
- Andrew Ullsperger (several years, specifics unknown)
- Matt Weiner (2006–07)
5/5 Science 5/5 Math 5/5 Social Studies 5/5 Literature and Language Arts 3/3 Fine Arts 1/1 Miscellaneous (including some Agriculture, Family Consumer Science, Drivers Education, Industrial Arts, and Consumer Education)
Top Teams from the IHSA State Championship Tournament
Clicking on the year brings you to the article showing the full results for each year's State Championship Tournament. (NOTE: The information below only goes up to 2009.)
State Championship Results
|Years||AA Champion||AA Second Place||A Champion||A Second Place|
|1987-88||Quincy Senior||Wheaton Central|
|1989-90||IMSA||Joliet Catholic Academy|
|1992-93||Quincy Senior||IMSA||Winnebago||Latin School|
|1994-95||Richwoods||New Trier||Winnebago||Latin School|
|1997-98||IMSA||Hinsdale Central||Latin School||St. Teresa|
|1999-2000||Stevenson||Naperville Central||Byron||University (Normal)|
|2001-02||Wheaton North||Hinsdale Central||Latin School||Carterville|
|2002-03||Wheaton North||Auburn (Rockford)||Stillman Valley||Carlinville|
|2003-04||Wheaton North||Stevenson||Latin School||Carterville|
|2004-05||Stevenson||Wheaton North||Latin School||Eureka|
|2005-06||Fremd||Carbondale||Latin School||Illinois Valley Central|
|2006-07||New Trier||Wheaton North||Lutheran Schools Association (Decatur)||Columbia|
|2011-12||IMSA||Macomb||Peoria Christian||Chicago Christian|