PEORIA, Ill. — This could be a make or break week for the Illinois High School Association.
The IHSA postponed its scheduled Wednesday board meeting announcing it will be meeting with state health and education leaders on Friday instead. The IHSA will “take part on a round table discussion with leaders from the Illinois Department of Public health and Illinois State Board of Education,” according to a statement.
IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson said he expects the meeting “will provide important guidance on how the IHSA will proceed with fall sports.”
It means high school athletes and coaches continue to wait and wonder.
Prep football players are clinging to hope. The season is scheduled to kick off in just over a month but they see what’s happening around them and they remember how sports were canceled in the spring.
They wonder if football is next.
“Anything we can get out of this situation would be great,” said Elmwood senior Charles Shissler. “Not having baseball hurt a little bit. Whatever we could get would be awesome.”
Teams have limited workouts now. Tremont practiced as a football team for the first time this summer on Monday.
“We practice hard, we’re ready to have a season,” said senior Jake Barnewolt. “A lot of guys are hoping we have a season. We talk about practicing like we are going to have a season.”
But it’s not just football. Athletes in other sports are going through their summer workouts wondering if they’ll have sports seasons this school year.
“Sometimes we talk, we say hopefully we’ll have a season because the IHSA is working hard to try and figure things out,” said Morton volleyball senior Emme Patton. “Can people come? Can we travel? How many people can play? Can we play all our games? How will we get there because of the bus situation? That runs through our head.”
Basketball season doesn’t typically start until November but even hoops players are wondering about the future of their sport this year.
“I’ll take anything. If we’ve got to wait until January and they think it’s safer, that’s fine with me. I’ll do anything,” said Brimfield junior Camden Kasel. “I just want to get a season in.”
Teams have heard about the proposals being floated around the state. Short seasons, delayed seasons, schedules moved to different parts of the calendar.
The IHSA has said everything is on the table. The athletes just want to play.
“We’ll take anything, honestly, just to be able to play. It’s my senior season, everyone wants to play,” said Notre Dame soccer senior Thomas Menke. “We’ll take it if it’s in the spring, pushed back, shortened season. We’ll take anything.”