IHSA ‘pauses’ winter sports after new statewide mitigations

Executive Director Anderson hopes 2021 will provide safer environment to play
Published: Nov. 17, 2020 at 6:29 PM CST
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(WIFR) - Winter sports are put on pause just as they were getting underway with their first practices this week. That’s because Governor JB Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Public Health announced the state will enter into Tier 3 mitigations starting this Friday to attempt to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Tier 3 mitigations effect many businesses and organizations, including indoor sports. Group sporting and recreational activities, including youth and adult recreational sports, will be paused. Indoor recreation centers, including theaters, performing arts centers and indoor museums and amusement centers will be closed. That also includes bowling centers.

The Illinois High School Association said winter sports will take a break because of the new mitigations. Executive Director Craig Anderson issued a statement regarding Gov. Pritzker’s latest COVID-19 update.

“The Illinois High School Association (IHSA) recognizes that today’s announcement by Governor Pritzker will temporarily pause the IHSA’s winter sports season,” said Anderson. “We remain optimistic that these new mitigations, coupled with the emergence of a vaccine, will aid in creating participation opportunities in the New Year for IHSA student-athletes in winter, spring, and summer sports."

The IHSA Board of Directors still plans to meet as scheduled on Thursday, as the governing body of high school sports in the state continues to figure out what’s next. Last week, Anderson extended an offer to the Governor’s office and the IDPH to be present for the meeting, but those requests were declined.

Anderson did say the IHSA should have a better idea of what’s to come.

“Although representatives from the Governor’s office and the Illinois Department of Public Health will be unable to attend the meeting, today’s updated guidance from Governor Pritzker will aid the Board’s decision-making. We have asked Deputy Governor Ruiz and Dr. Ezike to engage with us in the near future, so that we can collaborate on developing a plan to safely conduct IHSA sports and activities as soon as possible. IHSA schools have been exemplary in adhering to state regulations throughout this pandemic and we hope that non-school programs will hold themselves to the same standard as we all put the long-term health and safety of our fellow citizens ahead of short-term athletic competition.”

Boys and girls bowling, boys swimming and diving, cheerleading, competitive dance, and girls gymnastics were all scheduled to compete this winter, with competitions starting Dec. 1.

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