The pause button is back on Illinois high school sports.
The IHSA announced Thursday, amid rising COVID-19 cases in the state and in compliance with the latest mitigations by Governor J.B. Pritzker, that all winter sports and activities will be paused by Nov. 20. The board will then revisit the issue Dec. 2.
“All IHSA sports and activities will cease by Nov. 20 for what we hope is a short-term pause,” IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson said in a statement. “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.”
The IHSA released a statement on Tuesday of this week initiating a temporary pause on winter sports and activities and that the matter would be readdressed at Thursday’s board meeting.
Among the regulations regarding Thursday’s announcement, open gyms, conditioning and weight training cannot be conducted. One-on-one skill work is permitted, provided it is limited to one coach and one student athlete per facility. Practices and competitions can only be conducted virtually.
Furthermore, the IHSA stated that all sports organizations in Illinois, school or non-school, have been directed to abide by the Governor’s mitigations. IHSA coaches cannot organize non-school participation in any capacity.
“Taking into account the current state mitigations, the Board believes that early to mid-December will be the most reasonable target to review the status of winter IHSA sports and activities,” Anderson said. “The Board is sensitive to the scheduling difficulties these delays create for athletic directors and coaches. However, our experiences this summer and fall lead us to believe that setting arbitrary start dates hinders the process even more. We realize it may seem redundant, but we have to preach patience as we await more data and direction from the state. Despite the obstacles this unprecedented school year has presented, the Board’s vision to provide participation opportunities in all IHSA sports has not wavered.”
If necessary, the IHSA will discuss the matter again on Dec. 14.