IESA approves return of fall sports

The new guidance placed golf, softball, baseball and cross-country in the “lower risk” category.
Published: Jul. 31, 2020 at 6:14 PM CDT
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - The Illinois Elementary School Association approved a plan for the return of regular season contests for golf, softball, baseball and cross-country on Friday.

This comes after the All Sports Guidance document that was recently released from the governor’s office. The new guidance placed golf, softball, baseball and cross-country in the “lower risk” category. Sports in that category can hold practices and interscholastic games.

Softball, baseball, and cross-country teams may begin their practices on Aug. 3 and they may conduct their first game or contest on Aug. 15. Competitions may not be held before Aug. 15. This means that contests previously scheduled to start before Aug. 15 will need to be cancelled, according to the IESA. This start date is mandated by the governor’s office.

A regional only level of the state series for softball and baseball will be held the week of September 21 and a sectional only level for cross-country will be held sometime between October 10-17. A sectional only level for golf will be held on Wednesday, September 9, according to the IESA.

Additionally, the board approved a plan for modified seasons in all remaining IESA sports and activities. The purpose of the plan is to provide schools, administrators, coaches, parents, and officials with a general framework for their sports and activity programs in the 2020-21 school year. Guidelines may change any part of the plan at any time, according to the IESA.

”I speak for the Board when I say they do not like to reverse decisions. In this case, the Board believed the information that became available after their initial decision on July 23 warranted a review of that decision. Ultimately, the Board approved the resumption of a regular season in the sports deemed lower risk and a plan for the remainder of the school year. It is important to remember that the 2020-21 school year is not going to be the same as previous years. We are hopeful that the remainder of the sports and activities will be held. Currently, the majority of those activities have been deemed as medium or high risk. The Board felt that the plan they approved provides direction and a blueprint should we be able to move forward. This is the world in which we live today where things change daily. If we want our student-athletes to have the benefits that the privilege of participating in education-based activities provide, everyone has to be accountable for following all mandates and requirements,” executive director Steve Endsley said.

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