Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker isn’t backing down.
Amid protests and rallies in Illinois last week in favor of high school football returning this fall –and more scheduled for this weekend—Pritzker reiterated his stance on holding off football in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I’m not willing to sacrifice people’s lives or their health, neither the children, nor their parents who would be affected also,” Pritzker said at a press conference Tuesday. “We’re being careful about it, but I am relying upon doctors and researchers to give us the information. This isn’t a political decision.”
Tuesdays remarks are similar to those made back on July 29, where he imposed guidelines and restrictions on all sports for the current school year.
“But the idea…of focusing on sports, not my idea it’s doctors and researchers, have found that these sports, particularly high school sports and college sports, without the proper mitigations, without the proper prevention, etc., that those sports are dangerous.”
The high school football season, which was scheduled to start in August (with games starting Aug. 28), is currently shelved until late-winter 2021. Football practices are expected to resume Feb. 15.
There are a smattering of low-contact sports that are currently in session at the high school level in the Land of Lincoln, including cross country, golf, tennis and swimming.
High school football is currently being played in all of the states surrounding Illinois. Michigan was also recently added to the list of nearby states playing football.
“If they have decided to endanger children in those states, that is their decision,” Pritzker said.
Rallies in favor of the return of football this fall, organized in large part from coaches and parents, were planned this Saturday in Chicago at the Thompson Center and at the State Capitol building in Springfield.