BLOOMINGOTN, Ill. (WMBD/WYZZ) — High school sports in Illinois are still on pause.
Will they ever play this season? The Illinois High School Association hopes so.
The OHSA board met Wednesday and approved contact days for its member school as soon as the Illinois Department of Public Health allows. That means informal offseason full-team practices will be allowed in schools once the state gives the OK.
As for when competition will begin… that’s still undecided. the board “reviewed several options outlining a sports schedule framework for the remainder of the school year,” according to an IHSA statement. But the board did not approve a plan.
That could come Jan. 27 when the IHSA board holds a special meeting to discuss the resumption of high school athletics.
“We realize there is a desire for finality on a sports schedule for 2020-21, however, we did not believe it would be prudent to lock ourselves into a schedule at a time when IHSA schools are unable to conduct any sports,” IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson said in a statement released Wednesday.
The IHSA hopes the state will allow low-risk sports to begin practicing as soon as Tier 3 Mitigations are lifted in regions around the state. Low-risk sports include boys swimming, boys and girls bowling, cheerleading, dance, and girls gymnastics.
“The IHSA acknowledges the immense mental, emotional, and physical strain that a lack of contact with school programs is causing Illinois high school student-athletes,” Anderson said. “It is our intention that these contact days provide sport-specific training under the leadership of high school coaches. This is an effort to provide a viable sports option to high school athletes given the growing number of student-athletes opting for higher risk opportunities within the state and across state lines.
“We expect that the events of the next two weeks will go a long way toward informing our opinion on which scheduling option we decide to proceed with. We recognize that if no sports have resumed by February, season lengths could be impacted in certain sports, and that we may need to take a longer look at the likelihood of true seasons being conducted in high-risk sports this year. Our overall goal remains unchanged, as we hope to conduct all IHSA sports during the remainder of the school year calendar. Please know that we see and read many of the comments and messages from student-athletes, coaches, and parents, and that we are doing everything we can to try and bring IHSA sports back within the current parameters we are working in.”