Illinois on Wednesday added new restrictions for recreational sports for both youths and adults beginning next month.
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.
Under the new guidance, each sport will be categorized into 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.
"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
As of Wednesday, the state's coronavirus conditions dictate the following levels are 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
Here's where each group ranks in terms of risk:
Competitive Cheer: Higher
Competitive Dance: Higher
Martial Arts: Higher
Ultimate Frisbee: Higher
Flag Football or 7v7 Football: Medium
Water Polo: Medium
Wheelchair Basketball: Medium
Baseball: Lower, if at least 6-feet apart in dugout areas, or players seated 6 feet apart in bleachers behind dugout. If not, this would be considered medium
Bass Fishing: Lower, if limit number of individuals on boat to allow for social distancing. If not, this would be labeled medium
Cross Country: Lower, if number of teams is significantly limited and physical workspace guidelines followed
Cycling: Lower, if individual or use only every other track in velodrome. If not, this is considered medium
Disc Golf: Lower
Scholastic Golf: Lower
Gymnastics: Lower if able to clean equipment between participants. Otherwise, considered Medium
Horseback Riding: Lower
Ice Skating: Lower, if singles only. Otherwise, higher
Ropes Courses: Lower, if able to socially distance and clean between each individual. If not, this is considered higher
Sailing, Canoeing, Kayaking: Lower, if limited number on boat to socially distance. Otherwise, higher
Sideline Spirit: Lower if 6-feet apart and no stunts or lifts. Otherwise this would be considered higher
Softball: Lower, if at least 6-feet apart in dugout areas, or players seated 6-feet apart in bleachers behind dugout. If not, this is considered medium
Swimming/Diving: Lower, if restricted to single lane and singles diving. No relays, synchronized swimming, or paired diving. If not, considered medium
Track and Field: Lower, if delayed starts, every other track, and cleaning of equipment between usage; otherwise medium
Weight Lifting: Lower, if able to clean between each individual. If not, this would be considered medium
See full guidance below:
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.