IHSA Tightens Practice Restrictions, Coaches Wonder About Fall Season

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PEORIA, Ill (WMBD/WYZZ) — Will there be high school sports this fall?

It’s a question area coaches are asking after the Illinois High School Association revised its Phase 4 Return to Play guidelines on Thursday. The modifications come just six days after the IHSA and the Illinois Department of Public Health released a plan that allowed coaches to conduct contact practices.

But now contact drills and physical contact for athletes are forbidden. Scrimmages between teams aren’t allowed and the IHSA is mandating masks for all participants of indoor activities, athletes and coaches included.

in a statement, the IHSA said the revisions were due to an increase in COVID-19 cases among high school teams in the state.

“The modifications place greater restrictions on coaches and student-athletes in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” the statement said.

Area football coaches are unsure the fall season can survive.

“The state could say we aren’t playing this year,” Richwoods football coach Roland Brown said as he prepares for his 35th season. “I’d say it’s a 50-50 chance (for a season).”

After the spring sports season was canceled by the coronavirus outbreak, Notre Dame football coach Pat Armstrong said he didn’t want to see a re-run in the fall.

“Maybe move football to the spring and play in the spring. I just don’t want the boys to go without a season. It was terrible for basketball to end the way they did. Very hard for our school because we were a leading contender to be a state champion. I just don’t want to see that happen for the football teams as well,” Armstrong said.

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