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New state guidelines could put high school basketball on hold in Illinois

(WEEK) — Updated guidelines set by the state suggest high school basketball won’t happen this winter.

Gov. JB Pritzker’s administration and the Illinois Department of Public Health released the guidelines Tuesday, placing basketball at “high risk” — the same as wrestling and hockey.

With these new guidelines, basketball can be played at Level 1, meaning only no contact practices and training is allowed.

It wasn’t clear if these measures could be lifted at any time during the scheduled season.

As of 3:50 p.m. Tuesday, the Illinois High School Association has not released a statement on the new guidelines.

The youth sports guidance puts sports into three risk levels, lower, medium, or higher, based on the amount of contact between athletes and their proximity during play. The guidance sets four levels of play allowed based on current public health conditions. In all levels, some form of play is allowed ranging from practice and trainings in level 1 to tournaments and conference play in level 4.

  • In level 1, only no-contact practices and training are allowed.
  • In level 2, intra-team scrimmages are allowed with parental consent for minors but there can be no competitive play.
  • In level 3 intra-conference, intra-EMS-region or intra-league play is allowed and there may be state- or league-championship games allowed for low-risk sports only.
  • In level 4, tournaments, out-of-conference/league play, and out-of-state play are allowed. Championship games would also be allowed in level 4.

“The updated guidance was developed by the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) in conjunction with public health experts from around the state and nation and reflects the high levels of risk associated with contact sports played indoors. The guidance also accounts for new research related to COVID-19 and sports, sports related outbreaks in other states, and the fact that the second wave of the pandemic is now well underway in all regions of Illinois,” the announcement from the governor’s office read.

Cheer and dance are categorized as low risk in the new plan, but only if masking and social distancing are enforced.

Bowling, gymnastics, swimming and diving will be permitted in the winter, according to the announcement.

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13 WREX Newsroom

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