The IHSA is limiting the number of fans allowed to attend the boys basketball state tournament amid growing public health concerns from the COVID-19 outbreak.
The organization announced plans to reduce fans to only 60 spectators per school for each contest with an official release on Thursday morning. Working media will also be allowed to attend IHSA games as long as they adhere to working guidelines.
This IHSA's announcement impacts this weekend's Class 1A and Class 2A boys basketball state semifinals and championships, as well as Friday's scheduled Class 3A and Class 4A boys basketball sectional finals.
According to the IHSA's release, the decision to limit fans came after consultation with the Illinois Department of Public Health and the Peoria City/County Health Department.
Hinsdale South postponed its second Class 3A sectional semifinal game on Wednesday night amid the growing public health crisis. The Hornets were scheduled to face Benet Academy for the right to play Bogan on Wednesday night in a game that's been postponed until at least Thursday. That potential Class 3A sectional final has also been postponed from Friday until Saturday.
Other IHSA events impacted outside of the aforementioned boys basketball state tournament events by this ruling includes the following:
- Scholastic Bowl Sectionals on March 14.
- Class 3A and Class 4A Super-Sectionals on March 17.
- Scholastic Bowl State Finals on March 20.
- Class 3A and Class 4A State Finals on March 20 and 21.
- Debate State Finals on March 20 and 21.
- Drama/Group Interpretation Sectionals on March 20 and 21.
- Drama/Group Interpretation State Finals on March 27 and 28.
While having limited fans at the state tournament is going to be a strange experience, organizations across the country are taking similar steps to ensure public safety.
Wednesday night saw the NBA postpone its regular season after Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert reportedly tested positive for coronavirus. The NCAA also took the unprecedented step of banning fans from the 2020 NCAA men's and women's tournaments. Conference tournaments across college basketball also limited fans from attending games, beginning with Thursday's action.
The IHSA taking this step falls in line with what other basketball-related organizations have done in the midst of a global pandemic. With the way things are continually evolving with this story, we could see further changes to IHSA events in the coming days.