IHSA Athletics Remain On Hold Indefinitely
Illinois student-athletes will have to wait a little longer to get back to playing sports.
February 13th is the last day of the "Winter" season for IHSA athletics, it looks like that will pass with no winter sports played.
If you need a refresher on the original retooled plan for IHSA athletics in the 2020/21 school year, go back and read this article. Most of the information here is still accurate. That information will be pertinent later in this post.
December 23 was the last time the IHSA and the Governor's office talked about bringing sports back. After receiving pressure from both the public and school athletic directors, the two sides finally had a Zoom call Thursday night to talk about things.
IHSA executive director Craig Anderson wasn't exactly thrilled with the results:
IHSA.org - "We appreciate the dialogue with state leadership and believe it is crcial that it continue moving forward"..."We understand that the state faces shifting priorities as it continues to fight the pandemic, while also beginning the distribution of the vaccine. There was no expectation that a single meeting would resolve all our questions. However, we believe that collaboration with state officials is vital for the IHSA to be able to develop an informed plan for the 300,000-plus student-athletes...that encompass the Association."
That's Anderson saying that basically, nothing happened. They are asking the state to review their classification of high- and medium-risk level sports. Right now football (high-risk) and basketball (medium-risk) would not be allowed to compete even if other low-risk sports.
Anderson did make a great point about how students are finding other outlets of competition:
Students are already leaving or participating out-of-state on weekends. We believe that competing for their high school remains the safest venue for participation.
He's absolutely right. Kids are leaving the state more often than they usually would to play in weekend tournaments in bordering states. This is having the opposite effect than the cancellation of high school sports was supposed to do. These travelling athletes are being exposed to many more social circles than they would if they could compete locally.
Even if you agreed with the suspension of sports initially, the results are in from the FORTY-TWO other states that are playing high school sports regularly.
Both parties are scheduled to meet again on January 13th.