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Judge Denies Temporary Restraining Order That Would Have Ordered IHSA to Allow Fall Sports

A judge denied a restraining order on Thursday filed by Illinois student athletes and parents against the IHSA

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On Thursday, a DuPage County Judge denied a temporary restraining order against the Illinois High School Sports Association that pushed to allow fall sports to resume amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

A group of student-athletes and parents filed a class action lawsuit Tuesday against the IHSA in DuPage County, according to a press release, and lists the IHSA as the primary defendant.

A total of 20 students were listed as plaintiffs in the suit, which sought a temporary restraining order ordering the state to allow fall sports, including football, soccer and volleyball, to get underway.

However, on Thursday, DuPage County Judge Paul Fullerton denied the temporary restraining order.

“Here we have all the experts in the world apparently in this state. What we really have here in this state is a bunch of cowards who are in charge of things,” said David Ruggles, a lead plaintiff in the suit. “They’re not advocating for the kids and they ask ‘what difference does it make?’”

The suit alleges that prohibitions on some fall sports, including football and volleyball, violates the IHSA’s constitution and bylaws, and has “caused mental health issues and financial hardships” for athletes and their families, according to the press release.  

Specifically, the suit alleges that the decision to postpone fall sports will have negative financial impacts on both students and parents, as they will fall behind in their ability to compete for athletic scholarships to make college more affordable.

The IHSA, along with Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker, have remained adamant that contact sports like football and volleyball will be pushed to spring as a result of the pandemic.

"When the IHSA mandated that football be moved from fall to spring for example, they exceeded the scope of their authority," attorney Jeff Widman said of that decision. "That was not their call to make.”

Other states around Illinois have begun playing football, leaving the state as the only one in the Midwest not currently allowing high school football to take place.

Pritzker has said that he has remained in close contact with infectious disease experts, and says that the decision to push those sports back to the spring is based on their recommendations.

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