Illinois Student Athletes Await Critical Decision On Fall Sports

The Illinois High School Association could make a decision as early as next week.

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Student athletes across Illinois are awaiting a major decision from the state that could come next week.

The Illinois High School Association is receiving guidance from state health officials and plans to have a board meeting on Wednesday, July 29.

A spokesperson from IHSA said a decision isn’t anticipated until after that meeting.

Time is of the essence for high school senior athletes like Cameron Labbato.

"I’m looking to get as much film as possible," Labbato said. "I just want to have my senior season and try to be remembered."

Labbato plays on the top-ranked boys’ varsity soccer team at Lyons Township High School.

Although he hopes to play this fall, he said he understands the tough decision IHSA has to make during this pandemic.

“There’s pressure from parents, coaches, players; everyone wants to play but do they really want to risk everyone getting sick?” Labbato said. “I think whatever decision they make will be the right decision, but I’m hoping we can play.”

Labbato’s father is also the school’s head soccer coach.

“The schools would have protocol that would make it safer than whatever the clubs are doing because we have athletic trainers and the ability to buy thermometers,” Paul Labbato said. “They have a big decision with a lot of people’s health at stake. That is not something to look lightly upon.”

At Washington High School in Chicago, junior volleyball player Jennifer Arevalo said her parents are concerned for her safety but are leaving the decision up to her.

“I would be really upset. Volleyball is the only sport I play. It’s the only sport that keeps me active,” Arevalo said.

While not confirmed, student athletes have mixed reactions to rumors of a combined sports season in the spring where postponed fall sports would be placed.

Lilly Collins of St. Viator High School participates in basketball, swimming and soccer.

“I would be running around all the time, not having time to do homework or much other than that,” said Collins.

IHSA had no further comment prior to next Wednesday’s meeting.

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