Chicago

Not so fast: Pritzker pushes IHSA basketball to spring

Chicago
USA Today

Basketball contests are sometimes called seesaw affairs. 

It appears we have another one going between Gov. J.B. Pritzker and the Illinois High School Association.

On Thursday, Pritzker announced that basketball season would be pushed back from November to the spring, clarifying comments he made Tuesday that the winter sports be "on hold." It is the latest in what has been a near-daily back and forth between the two parties this week, the latest coming one day after the IHSA pushed forth with their plan to play this winter.

"We're not shutting them down. We've asked that they be moved to the spring," Pritzker said. "It's the high risk sports where we've asked that there be limitations for the time being."

"We want to get kids back in school. Sports is a secondary question."

Pritzker added, "Schools...will potentially be subject to some legal liability if something happens as a result of them playing a sport that we've issued guidance about."

[MORE: Twitter has IHSA basketball fans excited but a bit concerned]

In a statement Thursday, the IHSA said that they had not received additional outreach from the Governor’s office or IDPH since Tuesday, and as a result, were not comfortable commenting.

According to the current IHSA schedule, the spring sports season commences on Feb. 15 and lasts until May 1. Having boys and girls basketball moved from the winter to spring season would create an overlap with other sports such as football, boys soccer and girls volleyball.

 

Regarding Tuesday's "on hold" remark, that announcement came the same day the Illinois Department of Public Health moved basketball from a moderate risk to a higher risk sport, per their Sports Safety Guidance policy.

On Wednesday, the IHSA Board of Directors made the decision to play the 2020-21 basketball season as scheduled, thus defying Pritzker's decision. Practices were to start Nov. 16 with the first games scheduled two weeks later.

Now all of that is in flux. Will another volley happen in the coming days from the IHSA?

Numerous high-profile holiday boys basketball tournaments have already been canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, including Pontiac, the Wheeling Hardwood Classic, the Big Dipper at Rich South, Centralia and many others. 

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