Judge Denies Fall Sports Class Action Lawsuit Against IHSA
Judge Paul Fullerton denied the temporary restraining order involving the IHSA's Return to Play guidelines, filed by a group of parents on behalf of their children.
Worrying about whether or not their child would be on the receiving end of an athletic scholarship was never something my parents had to go through. Not because I played high school sports during a pandemic, but rather because I wasn't very good. Plus, back when I graduated high school, the reality of being hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt with student loans hadn't reached todays levels.
For those who haven't been following along, here's a breakdown of what the lawsuit is about (patch.com):
The plaintiffs stated the IHSA Board of Directors adopted a series of guidelines — Return To Play and Contact Day Guidelines — that altered the 2020-21 sports seasons mandated by the IHSA bylaws. The guidelines, according to the lawsuit, include an outright ban on certain sports (football, boys soccer, girls volleyball) during the time periods, to which the IHSA by-laws limit those sports. The lawsuit argues these amendments to the IHSA by-laws were not enacted through the legislative process that the IHSA Constitution requires. The plaintiffs are asking the court to find them invalid and void them.
The judge, with student-athlete children of his own, said that while he understands the parents frustration, he pointed out that the pandemic has produced a "special circumstance," and that the IHSA's actions were within their bounds.
IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson:
While the IHSA defended itself in court, our defense was not a rebuttal against expanding the participation opportunities for high school athletes in Illinois," IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson said in a statement. "The IHSA has and continues to believe that we can safely conduct high school sports in Illinois throughout the 2020-21 school year...If changes to that schedule are forthcoming, we feel that the path to achieving them is through collaboration with the Illinois Department of Public Health and state leadership, as opposed to litigation.
No word yet on whether the plaintiffs plan to move forward with time running out on the fall sports season.