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IHSA football, other fall sports sidelined until spring

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In concurrence with new sports guidelines from the Governor's office, the IHSA has pushed back high school football season to the spring semester, with an anticipated season running from Feb. 15-May 1. Boys soccer and girls volleyball are on the same timeline. Boys and girls golf, girls tennis, boys and girls cross country and girls swimming and diving will remain in the fall. Fall sports will begin with competition limited to conference opponents and other schools in the same general geographical area. 

“This plan, like nearly every aspect of our current lives, remains fluid,” said IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson. “Changes may come, and if they do, we will be agile while putting safety and students first. It was important that we provide a framework today for our student-athletes, coaches, administrators, and officials to begin preparing for the 2020-21 school year.”

State Series tournament decisions will be made on a sport-by-sport basis as each season progresses, but providing postseason opportunities remains a priority of the Board. This could potentially include culminating State Series Tournaments after Regional or Sectional rounds, or seeking other non-traditional means to conduct events.

The Board also verified that IHSA by-laws do not prevent schools who are conducting remote learning from participating in IHSA sports and activities.  Participation will remain a local school and district decision, regardless of the learning plan a high school is utilizing.

Governor J.B. Pritzker released a set of guidelines for youth, high school and adult recreation sports, with different tiers for what's allowed in different types of sports. The level of play is dictated by current public health conditions. Level 1 allows for no contact practices and training only. Level 2 allows for intra-team scrimmages to be played with parental consent for minors. No competitive play is allowed. Under level 3 guidelines, intra-conference, intra-EMS-region or intra-league games or meets are allowed. A state or league championship contest can occur in sports that are considered low-risk. Level 4 allows for full participation, with tournaments, non-conference competition, multi-team meets and out-of-state play all allowed. Championship games would also occur under level 4 guidelines.

Beginning Saturday August 15th, low risk sports can be played at levels 1, 2, and 3. Medium risk sports can be played at levels 1 and 2, and high-risk sports can be played at level 1.

Derek Bayne

Derek Bayne joined 13 WREX as the sports director in December of 2011. He grew up in the Chicago suburbs and moved back to Illinois after working several years in North Carolina. For any sports story ideas or tips, you can email dbayne@wrex.com.

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