KANKAKEE – The Illinois High School Association (IHSA) has invited representatives from the Governor’s office and multiple state agencies after hundreds of schools reported plans to nix the start of the IHSA basketball season.
IHSA activities had been planned to begin November 16th.
IHSA recently polled its 813 member schools internally of which 546 responded. Of schools that responded, IHSA reports nearly 300 of its members to plan not to begin basketball activities within the next week. Another 212 polled listed their status as ‘unsure.’ Among those invited to an IHSA Board meeting set to take place November 19th include representatives from Governor Pritzker’s Office, the Illinois Department of Public Health, Illinois Principals Association, Illinois Association of School Administrators, and Illinois State Board of Education.
“The Board hopes to create a dialogue and build a more collaborative relationship with all the entities involved with developing sports policy in our state as everyone tries to navigate the myriad issues caused by the pandemic,” said IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson. “The Board’s decision to move forward with the IHSA basketball season was not meant to be adversarial. It was rooted in a desire to receive more direct communication and data from our state partners. They hope all the groups will see the mutual benefit of increased discourse and be represented at the meeting on November 19.”
Multiple schools in the area already suspended basketball activities indefinitely, including Kankakee, Manteno, St. Anne, Beecher, Grant Park, Clifton, Gardner-South Wilmington, Tri-Point, Donvan, and Grace Christian.
The IHSA Board announced that schools that plan to begin basketball practice on November 16 should adhere to the Level 1 mitigations from the IDPH All Sports Policy until at least November 19. The Board cited rising COVID-19 cases in the state and a recent membership survey for this recommendation. The Board plans to provide more direction on basketball practice and games following the meeting on November 19.
“The Board recognizes the difficult decisions they have placed on member schools regarding basketball,” said Anderson. “With a limited number of schools set to begin their season on November 16, they believe it is prudent to adhere to IDPH guidance as they work with state officials to gain greater clarity on the metrics and mitigations required to conduct certain high school sports throughout the remainder of the 2020-21 school year.”