IDPH, Pritzker moves basketball to high risk, putting prep season in doubt

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PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD/WYZZ) — The Illinois Department of Public Health and Gov. J.B. Pritzker have released winter youth and recreational sports guidelines which move basketball from a medium risk to a high risk sport.

As a high risk sport, basketball teams will only be able to conduct no-contact practices. Wrestling and hockey have also been moved to high risk. The updated risk for each sport can be seen in the photo below.

“As with sports in the fall, nothing is ‘cancelled,’ just put on hold until we’re through the thick of this pandemic,” Pritzker said in a statement. “We know that this virus is of most concern when people are indoors with high contact, especially in vigorous situations that bring about heavy breathing like in wrestling, hockey and basketball.”

IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson sent out a press release about an hour after Gov. Pritzker spoke to the media Tuesday.

“About 15 minutes prior to Gov. Pritzker’s press conference today, we were alerted that the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) has elevated the sport of basketball from a medium risk level to a high-risk level. We remain considerate of the recent rise in positive COVID-19 cases in our state,” Anderson said. “However, in our meeting with IDPH on Friday (Oct. 23), we felt that we presented multiple options that would allow for basketball to be conducted safely by IHSA schools this winter, many of which are being utilized in neighboring states who plan to play high school basketball.”

Anderson confirmed that the IHSA will hold a board of directors meeting Wednesday to decide how to proceed with any adjustments to the IHSA calendar.

“We will hold our special Board of Directors meeting on Oct. 28 as scheduled, where our Board will provide direction on the other winter sports, as well as discuss the IHSA sports schedule for the remainder of the 2020-21 school year,” Anderson said.

Basketball practices around the state were scheduled to begin on Nov. 16, with games to begin at the end of November.

This story will be updated.

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