In a statement released following a January 13th board meeting, the IHSA announced that the winter athletic season will remain on pause through at least the rest of the month. IHSA sports have been on pause since late November.
Sports Still on Pause
“We realize there is a desire for finality on a sports schedule for 2020-21, however, we did not believe it would be prudent to lock ourselves into a schedule at a time when IHSA schools are unable to conduct any sports,” said IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson in the statement. “Per Governor Pritzker, we have hope that low-risk sports may be permitted in certain regions of the state as early as this Friday (January 15). With that in mind, February seems like a realistic timeline to have sports resume statewide.”
The low risk winter sports waiting to begin include boys and girls bowling, girls badminton, cheerleading, dance, girls gymnastics, and boys swimming and diving.
Contact Days Await IDPH Approval
The IHSA also announced that contact days, which traditionally include practices and workouts, can begin pending approval from the Illinois Department of Public Health.
“It is our intention that these contact days provide sport-specific training under the leadership of high school coaches. This is an effort to provide a viable sports option to high school athletes given the growing number of student-athletes opting for higher risk opportunities within the state and across state lines,” said Anderson.
The Next Step
The IHSA encouraged board members and staff to prepare scheduling options and scenarios for the next scheduled meeting on January 27th.
Following the January 27th meeting, the IHSA hopes to unveil a plan to resume IHSA competition in February, but Executive Director Anderson acknowledges that time is running out, especially for the winter sports season.
“We recognize that if no sports have resumed by February, season lengths could be impacted in certain sports, and that we may need to take a longer look at the likelihood of true seasons being conducted in high-risk sports this year. Our overall goal remains unchanged, as we hope to conduct all IHSA sports during the remainder of the school year calendar. Please know that we see and read many of the comments and messages from student-athletes, coaches, and parents, and that we are doing everything we can to try and bring IHSA sports back within the current parameters we are working in.”
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