We’re now one month away from the beginning of the IHSA calendar. As of now, it looks like multiple scenarios that could evolve for high school athletics in 2020.
In an interview with WRMJ earlier today, IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson said the upcoming fall sports season is getting “more complicated” with each passing day.
“As of today, as a result of recent decisions we’ve had to make, and of the last couple of days, it has me a bit concerned,” Anderson said during the interview. “It’s getting more complicated with the different adjustments that have been made to what was our Phase 4 guidelines that we had approved and have now had some setbacks. But I remain hopeful that even with these setbacks, that we will get back to more activities soon as long as our schools continue to do it safely and we don’t have any spikes or spread of the virus.”
Among changes made to the “Return to Play” guidelines include no contact drills/physical contact among athletes, all persons must always wear mask, and a strict 50 person limit to all indoor activities.
“So many of our sports require physical contact,” Anderson said Friday. “Remain hopeful that some progression in that area could happen.”
One option IHSA is looking at is a shortened season for all high school sports.
“We’re getting closer to that and I think that model is starting to play out with some of the collegiate conferences, some decision there is to eliminate some early round, non-conference contests in sports like football,” Anderson said. “Depending on how this trends, a delayed start may be letting our students get back to school and get that underway before we resume some activities, or maybe things that we’ll have to consider. So that’s defiantly a possibility.”
“If we have to shorten a season but can still provide the opportunity it’s something I’m sure our Board will consider.” Anderson assured. “I think our schools want to provide opportunities for kids no matter what makes the most sense.”
Another option IHSA is looking at could push football back to the spring, flipping sports seasons entirely.
“I think we’d be more inclined to flip entire seasons to keep the opportunities seasonally and the opportunities available to all students to participate in the sports and activities they ordinarily would during a school year. Even though it may be out of season.” Anderson explained during the interview.
The only other option would be to cancel seasons altogether. That could translate to a shorten season across the board for a variety of sports to provide additional opportunities for kids. Meaning, all three seasons would run at the same time in a shorten capacity.
“I just feel badly for kids,” Anderson said Friday. “To go two years without spring sports isn’t good for kids. I think if we have a season canceled, then we gotta have some consideration if we can provide opportunities for kids and some shortened versions of seasons throughout the year.”
While no hard date for a decision has been finalized, the IHSA Executive Director said a decision could be made in the next week or two by the Board.