Pritzker Administration restricts youth and adult recreational organized sports in Illinois

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Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker released new guidance this afternoon, restricting youth and adult recreational organized sports. The ruling is expected to cancel all Illinois High School Association (IHSA) fall sports in Illinois for the 2020/2021 school year.

“It is obvious there won’t be enough protection for kids on our playing fields.” Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Wednesday afternoon. The Governor cited recent outbreaks among professional sports leagues with no fans and those in youth in Lake Zurich. “The IHSA is meeting now to determine how fall sports will move forward in a way that is safe. Safe as possible for it’s participants.”

The news does not apply to professional leagues. IHSA, the independent body that regulates youth sports, is meeting now discussing the new guidance.

IDPH announced 1,393 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday. It is the 8th consecutive day Illinois has announced over 1,000 new cases.

IHSA met early Wednesday morning to discuss the options which ranged from postponing the season to canceling it entirely. Other options that had been consider, included canceling the fall season all together, postponing it to winter or spring (condensing seasons together), or allowing non-contact fall sports. The last was the lease likely considering the number of rising cases across Illinois. Virtual competitions had also been considered.

The news should come as no surprise after Governor Pritzker said Monday afternoon IHSA was looking to “get out of the business of this in the fall.”

“It’s hard, it’s disappointing for these kids,” said Chicago Bears Coach Matt Nagy weighing in on the possibility of an IHSA cancellation Wednesday morning. “I have three of my boys that are in [youth football] and when they got that news, it was hard to accept.”

Illinois Elementary School Association (IESA) canceled fall sports for children grades 8 and younger last Thursday unanimously.

The Indiana High School Athletic Association (IHSAA) announced Wednesday fall sports would continue as planned. Indiana joins Nebraska, Michigan, Iowa and Pennsylvania have all announced their 2020 fall sports seasons will proceed as scheduled.

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