Winter sports remain on ‘short-term pause’
No expectation of re-starting low-risk activities prior to 2021, according to IHSA officials
Posted Friday, Dec. 4, at 9 a.m.
Earlier this fall, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker deemed both boys and girls basketball as high-risk activities and the Illinois High School Association responded by pausing not just basketball but all winter activities.
The official action taken by the IHSA in mid-November included the following:
To maintain compliance with the most recent mitigations issued by Governor Pritzker that take effect on November 20, the IHSA Board issued guidance to pause all IHSA winter sports and activities by Nov. 20.
“All IHSA sports and activities will cease by Nov. 20 for what we hope is a short-term pause,” said IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson. “Given the rising COVID-19 cases in our state and region, we support the Governor’s mitigations and believe it is imperative for everyone in the state to do their part in following them so that we can return to high school sports participation as soon as possible.”
Anderson released the following statement regarding the IHSA Board of Directors Discussion Update on Dec. 2:
“The IHSA Board of Directors met virtually this morning for an update session, where they discussed several topics, including the timeline of winter sports.
Given Governor Pritzker’s current mitigations, the Board has no expectation of starting low risk winter sports prior to January. The Board and IHSA staff will continue to monitor the Tier 3 Resurgence Mitigation in effect currently. When there is a timeline for the state to emerge from these restrictions, the Board is prepared to restart lower risk winter sports quickly. In addition, the Board hopes to re-establish contact days in January for any winter sports that cannot begin, as well as spring and summer sports. The introduction of the contact days will be based on mitigations from the Governor and the Illinois Department of Public Health at that time. Further guidance on contact days limits will be established at a future Board meeting.
Given its status as a low risk sport, the Board also discussed the possibility of moving the girls badminton season from the spring to the winter. Schools should begin preparing for this possibility as action on this could be decided at the December 14, 2020 Board of Directors meeting.
The Board reiterated that they remain committed to creating as much opportunity as possible for all sports that remain to be played this school year. They intend to evaluate the equity of each season as a potential resumption date in January begins to materialize. The Board appreciates the flexibility displayed by our schools throughout the pandemic, and although they recognize the challenges each modification creates, they continue to ask that schools be adaptable in the New Year. The Board continues to evaluate season start and ending dates depending on when the winter season resumes.
The Board is scheduled to meet again on Dec. 14 at their regularly scheduled December board meeting. The Board will be discussing sports/activities state series, possible adjustments to IHSA By-law 3.022 and 4.022 for semester academic eligibility and the latest information regarding Tier 3 Resurgence Mitigation limits.
The Board and staff have received questions from schools regarding the interpretation of the Tier 3 Resurgence Mitigations and the application in use of the weight room and open gyms before and after school. The Board believes that only local schools and districts whose facilities serve as a shared space for community members may interpret whether or not their facilities are made available as public health and fitness centers. Before and after school weight lifting and open gym activities at school facilities that are not open to the community would remain prohibited outside of usage in the school day educational setting.
To reiterate, the Board has no expectation to begin any winter sports seasons until 2021, but will remain agile in their preparation and willingness to adapt should a window present itself sooner.”