Illinois High School Basketball Coaches Pen Letter To Pritzker
The window to play high school basketball this year is shutting quickly.
The Illinois Basketball Coaches Association know that if plans don't get put into place soon, an entire season will be lost.
That's why they sent a letter to the Governor and the Illinois Department of Health pleading them to get a plan together.
The letter is long so I'll highlight some of the better points in it.
On coaches not being permitted to have contact days with their players:
...data concluded that, while following all appropiate health guidelines, scholastic programs were able to provide student-athletes a safe environment to participate in while mitigating the spread of COVID-19 through basketball activities.
On Illinois being only one of four states not having a basketball season:
...35 states are currently playing high school basketball and 11 states have dates set in the near future to begin their seasons... we continue to see many of our student-athletes travel across state lines to compete in basketball when they could be playing in their own state.
They go on to state that not only is this less safe than competing locally but it also "created issues regarding equity." It's expensive to travel to neighboring states to compete in private tournaments. Many student-athletes just don't have the resources to do so.
On the unintended health consequences affecting the student-athletes:
We continue to see the increases in depression, anxiety, and worse... we are currently experiencing a mental health crisis.
Giving kids an outlet "in these trying times" would do wonders for their mental health.
On the Governor not adhering to his initial plan of moving to Phase 5:
Phase 5 is described as having testing and treatment widely available.... and eithera vaccine is developed, a treatment option is ready (sic) available, or there are no new cases of COVID-19.
The coaches association believes that these measures have been met.
The letter to the Governor makes some great points but I personally fear that it might already be too late. The IHSA meets next Wednesday on the 27th and we should hear some more news after that.
Even if the Governor and the IHSA clears schools to play the next step would be to convince individual schools and school districts to go along with the plan. The prevailing belief in the area is that most schools outside of the downstate area would probably choose to forgo the season all together even with the clearance.
There's a lot more to be said and debated on the subject but time is running out fast.