Fall sports in schools will be forced to face added restrictions under new guidance from Illinois' health department, the state's governor announced Wednesday.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker said the state will be "restricting youth and adult recreational organized sports," including school-based sports, beginning Aug. 15. The restrictions do not include professional or collegiate sports.
Pritzker said each sport will be categorized under three "risk levels" - high, medium and low - determined by "the amount of contact between athletes and their proximity during play." Still, certain sports may be able to move forward with their seasons in the fall under the new restrictions.
- See a full breakdown by sport here
"This isn't news that anyone wants to hear, but this virus remains dangerous," Pritzker said during his press conference Wednesday.
Under the guidance, each risk group will be limited to certain levels of play:
Level 1: No-contact practices and trainings only
Level 2: Intra-team scrimmages allowed, with parental consent for minors; no competitive play
Level 3: Intra-conference or Intra-EMS-region1 or intra-league play/meets only; state- or league-championship
game/meet allowed for low-risk sports only
Level 4: Tournaments, out-of-conference/league play, multi-team meets, out-of-state play allowed; championship games allowed
Under the state's current coronavirus conditions, here's a look at the levels allowed for each risk group:
• Lower-risk sports can currently play at Levels 1, 2, and 3
• Medium-risk sports can currently play at Level 1 and 2
• Higher-risk sports can currently play at Level 1
The announcement comes as the Illinois High School Association, with guidance from state health officials, announced its own plan for fall sports in schools. The plan moves several sports from the fall to the spring, but allows some to continue on as scheduled.
The IHSA had a number of options to consider, including but not limited to: canceling the fall season all together, postponing it to winter or spring (condensing the seasons together), or allowing non-contact fall sports.
Those close to Pritzker had hinted that fall sports weren't likely.
"IHSA has said that they’re basically going to get out of the business in the fall," Pritzker said at a recent news conference.
The decision holds big implications for high school senior athletes. For Chicago athletes in particular, the decision weighs heavily, given that last year's fall sports were cut short due to the Chicago Teachers Union strike.