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The IHSA held their regularly scheduled monthly board meeting on Wednesday morning. High school sports student/athletes, coaches and fans are hoping for some much-needed good news to come out of the meeting, but at this point are not holding their breath. The leaders of the IHSA would love nothing more than to be able to say that ALL sports will be played at some point this school year, but there are many hurdles that would have to be jumped in order for that to happen.
Probably the biggest hurdle being time itself, as half the school year has already been completed. After months of requesting a meeting, IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson and the IHSA board of directors finally had a chance to talk, virtually, with the Illinois Department of Public Health director Dr. Ngozi Ezike, Deputy Governor Jesse Ruiz, and IDPH Chief of Staff Justin DeWitt last Wednesday. Not much news, good or bad, came from the meeting but at least an open dialogue seemed to be started between the IDPH, the governor’s office and the IHSA. That, in itself, is a positive step.
Another hurdle to get back to playing is the current surge in positive cases of the coronavirus. The state of Illinois remains in Tier 3 mitigations, due to certain regions across the state still not meeting at least some of the standards for loosening restrictions.
A third hurdle facing the IHSA is most likely being forced to pick and choose which activities will be able to played, which months they will take part in and what sports will overlap or even be scheduled concurrently. The sports of basketball, football and wrestling are still classified as high-risk sports and will need to come down at least one or two notches before the IHSA could even consider those sports being played inter-scholastically. Volleyball and soccer are currently classified medium risk activities. Low-risk category sports, such as baseball, softball, bowling, track and field, swimming, and tennis are more likely to be played before the school calendar has completed in June. Most of those sport’s seasons were canceled last spring at the start of the pandemic. However, due to scheduling time constraints, should the IHSA be forced to combine select sports, that would certainly be a detriment to smaller schools that have multi-sport athletes.
We’ll have a full report on today’s IHSA board meeting on tomorrow morning’s sports report and online at 977wmoi.com.