By Lenny Sementi
The Illinois High School Association Board of Directors met virtually on December 2 in what was called an update session discussing several topics including winter sports. Executive Director Craig Anderson released a statement following the meeting saying with Governor Pritzker’s current mitigations, the Board has no expectation of starting even low risk sports prior to January.
Basketball was moved from medium risk to high risk at the beginning of November shutting it down prior to the Governor and the Illinois Department of Health moving retreating the state back to the Tier 3 Resurgence Mitigation level. Should the restrictions be lifted and moved back to Tier 4 they are hopeful to first reestablish contact days in January for any winter sports that can not begin, and also spring and summer sports. In Tuscola that would be basketball (winter sport), football and volleyball (spring) and baseball, softball and Track (summer).
Anderson said the Board stated, “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 IHSA is scheduled to meet again next Monday the 14th for the regularly scheduled December meeting but has made it known they have no expectations of beginning any winter sport seasons until at least 2021. But will be prepared and agile in their preparation with a willingness to adapt should the mitigations change and an opportunity arises sooner. To put it simply the roller coaster girls basketball coach Tim Kohlbecker and boys basketball coach Justin Bozarth and their athletes are still at the start but are chomping at the bit to start the trek up the first hill.
In a turn of events Chicago Public Schools announced the reopening of some schools next month. They are attempting to bring back at least some high schools. This move at this point does not mention extra curricular activities but with the largest district in the state making a move based on the mental health of its students it could open the door for future changes.