Thousands of youth football players won’t be hitting the gridiron this fall, as The Chicagoland Youth Football League has formally canceled its 2020 fall football season.
The league’s board made the decision at a meeting on Tuesday night amid concerns over the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The decision was made via a unanimous vote.
“The decision was made after many thoughtful meetings, conversations, consultations and discussions with our member communities that have taken place over the past several weeks,” the league said in a statement. “It is also a stark reminder of the impact that this global virus continues to bestow upon all of us across the world.”
Geoff Meyer, the president of TCYFL, says that the decision to cancel the league’s fall season did not come easily.
“Instead of contributing to the rise in numbers of COVId-19 and everything, it’s more important to get kids back into school than onto a football field,” he said. “With all the stuff happening, there’s too many unknowns out there.”
The league draws more than 8,000 players from 46 different suburbs each season, and is considered one of the largest youth football leagues in the country.
Despite the disappointment of canceling the fall season, there is still hope for the spring. Board members discussed potentially resuming play early next year, potentially with protocols in place to minimize contact between players.
“We will try flag football with less contact,” Meyer said.
Even as the league copes with the pandemic, and what to do to safely proceed in the future with the sport, officials say they feel they have done the right thing by proactively canceling the campaign.
“We feel it’s the right thing to do and these are just unprecedented times,” Meyer said. “It is definitely a very sad day, but right now there’s more important issues.”