IHSA Holding Out Hope For Competition This Winter

Local Sports

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (WMBD/WYZZ) — The Illinois High School Association still has plans for school to play basketball and other sports this winter.

It just doesn’t know when the season will start. At its regularly-scheduled monthly meeting Monday, the IHSA announced plans to with representatives from the state later this month to develop a timeline for winter sports to resume.

All high school sports have been on hold since the Illinois Department of Public Health and Governor JB Pritzker put the state into Tier 3 COVID Mitigations on Nov. 20. Coaches are allowed to work one-on-one with players but teams cannot have organized practices.

The IHSA board of directors hopes that changes soon. It voted to permit contact practices for out-of-season IHSA sports (2020-21 fall, spring, & summer sports) as soon as the IDPH and Gov. Pritzker lift those mitigations.

Contact days will be restricted to six hours per student-athlete per sport each week, and can include practices, drills, and intra-squad scrimmages allowable under IDPH guidance. Competition against any other high school, conducted in-state or out-of-state, is still prohibited.

“The board felt that it was important for the physical and mental health of our student-athletes to resume contacts days for all out-of-season sports as soon IDPH deems it safe,” said IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson.

“Given its status as a low-risk sport, we believe we can safely conduct badminton in the winter as soon as the current mitigations are lifted,” said IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson. “The feedback that we have heard from our schools is that this is an optimal time to conduct badminton as they look at balancing sports and facilities throughout the remainder of the school year.”

The board is hoping the winter sports season can begin in January so those sports will not have contact days once the state restrictions are lifted.

“Winter sports are not included, as we anticipate all low-risk winter sports will be able to begin their seasons at the same time. Basketball remains the outlier in the equation,” Anderson said. “We hope to be able to conduct basketball during the winter season, but if we cannot, basketball will be provided the same contact day opportunity as we determine where the basketball seasons fits best in the remainder of the school year.”

If the IHSA can meet with state representatives and get the green light to resume sports activities, it plans to call a special meeting to finalize scheduling for the winter, spring, and summer sport seasons. 

“The board reiterated it plans to do everything in (its) power to provide a season for every IHSA sport in 2020-21,” said Anderson. “There have been no cancellations of any sports, or discussions about cancelling any sports, thus far. The board appreciates the patience and flexibility of the IHSA membership and remain optimistic, especially as vaccines begin to be administered, that we will return to conducting IHSA sports early in 2021.”

The IHSA Board voted to move Girls Badminton from a spring sport to a winter sport within the modified 2020-21 sports calendar.

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