coronavirus illinois

IHSA Director Clarifies Intent of Letter Sent to Pritzker About Sports

IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson said no discussions have been had, "let alone proposed timelines, for resuming any sports at this time." 

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The executive director of the Illinois High School Association said Friday the content of a letter he sent to Gov. J.B. Pritzker and Deputy Gov. Jesse Ruiz this week "has been greatly misconstrued on social media in a short amount of time."

In a statement to clarify the letter's intent, Craig Anderson said the letter, sent Thursday with support from the association's board of directors, sought "permission for the IHSA and its Sports Medicine Advisory Committee to resume control over determining the resumption of IHSA sports and activities."

Anderson said no discussions have been had, "let alone proposed timelines, for resuming any sports at this time."

"Should our office receive a positive response from government officials, it could result in the IHSA reexamining its previously released season schedules, as well as postseason schedules, for the 2020-21 school year," he said.

"It is important to note that, under the leadership of Governor Pritzker, Illinois has attained one of the lowest COVID-19 infection rates in the country," Anderson said in the statement. "Additionally, several surrounding states have successfully conducted sports categorized as medium and high risk here in Illinois, and we believe sports and activities are safest when conducted under the IHSA safety protocols by school personnel. Those combined factors led us to issue this letter, and we will respectfully await response to it."

He also noted that IHSA is not involved in any planned weekend protests about the resumption of high school sports. "If protests occur, we encourage all attendees to be safe, smart and respectful," he said.

In July, the IHSA announced its plan for the 2020-21 school year, moving some fall sports to the spring and allowing others to continue as planned with restrictions.

The plan was issued following Pritzker's announcement that Illinois would be "restricting youth and adult recreational organized sports," including school-based sports, beginning Aug. 15.

Pritzker said at the time that each sport would be categorized under three "risk levels" - high, medium and low - determined by "the amount of contact between athletes and their proximity during play."

  • See a full breakdown by sport here

"This isn't news that anyone wants to hear, but this virus remains dangerous," Pritzker said at the time.

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.

The decision held big implications for high school senior athletes.

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