Under the Illinois High School Association's plan for the 2020-21 school year Wednesday, some fall sports will be moved to the spring and others will continue as planned as schools continue to grapple with how to move forward during the coronavirus pandemic.
Under the current plan, boys and girls golf, girls tennis, cross country and girls swimming and diving will remain as fall sports and will begin on Aug. 10, as scheduled. Football, boys soccer and girls volleyball will be moved from the fall to the spring, officials said.
The association announced a "condensed" schedule which includes:
Fall: Aug. 10 to Oct. 24
Winter: Nov. 16 to Feb. 13
Spring: Feb. 15 to May 1
Summer: May 3 to June 26
- See the full schedule by sport here
“This plan, like nearly every aspect of our current lives, remains fluid,” IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson said in a statement Wednesday. “Changes may come, and if they do, we will be agile while putting safety and students first. It was important that we provide a framework today for our student-athletes, coaches, administrators, and officials to begin preparing for the 2020-21 school year.”
According to the board, State Series tournament decisions "will be made on a sport-by-sport basis as each season progresses."
“I understand that today’s announcement will be met with mixed emotions,” Anderson said. “Our staff and Board have heard from thousands of people over the past few weeks with ideas, opinions, and proposals on how we should proceed. We respect and understand their passion, because we share in it. It is a great reminder that if we want high school sports to return to normal, we all need to do our part to help stop the spread of COVID-19.”
IHSA noted that by-laws do not prevent schools doing remote learning from participating in sports and other activities, but decisions to participate will be made on a school and district level.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced Wednesday 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.
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 already hinted that fall sports weren't likely.
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.