IHSA releases updated sports schedule for remainder of 2021 school year

Published: Jan. 27, 2021 at 4:06 PM CST
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SPRINGFIELD Ill. (WIFR) - After months of playing the waiting game, we now have a better idea of when sports will be played and for how long. The Illinois High School Association Board of Directors approved a schedule for the remainder of the school year.

One of the biggest updates was the allowance of basketball games to begin after seven days of practice instead of 12 as originally stated in the Board’s update from January 22. Games can begin once teams in Phase 4 regions meet that practice quota. Wrestling was supposed to take place in the winter, that has been moved into the modified summer schedule.

There will be some overlap from season-to-season for all sports. Basketball runs until March 13, while practices for football begin March 3, with games beginning March 19. There will be no state series for either sport, due to the Illinois Department of Public Health’s All Sports Guidance categorizing these sports as higher-risk, allowing only conference and regional competition. There will be no state series for boys swimming, boys and girls bowling, and girls gymnastics this winter, despite being categorized as a lower-risk sport.

Dance and Cheerleading will hold a state series virtually. Dance will take place on February 27 and March 6, with cheer on March 6 and March 12.

Traditional spring sports will play longer and have a chance at a traditional state series after being canceled entirely in 2020.

Here is a look at when each sport will take place:

The Illinois High School Association released its updated sports schedule for the remainder of...
The Illinois High School Association released its updated sports schedule for the remainder of the 2020-2021 school year. Wrestling was moved from winter to the modified summer season.(IHSA)

IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson released a statement on Wednesday’s announcement.

“We understood the high level of anticipation surrounding today’s announcement, along with the scrutiny that will accompany it,” said Anderson. “Ultimately, the Board adhered to its stated goals throughout the pandemic: providing an opportunity for every IHSA student-athlete to compete safely this year and maximizing opportunities for traditional IHSA spring sports after they lost their entire season a year ago.”

“I recognize that many schools and coaches could likely offer a tweak here or there that would have, in their opinion, made it ‘better’ for their school or sport. Our Board faced an impossible task with a litany of factors. They were conscientious in considering every possibility and I believe their decisions today are a positive step for the mental, emotional, and physical well-being of our students. We are excited to channel our energy into creating as many positive experiences for Illinois high school students as we can between now and the end of this extraordinary school year.”

Individuals will have to participate in seven different days of practice before competing, except in football, where 12 days of practice are required. If an individual transitions from basketball or boys swimming into football, they will need to practice on 10 different days.

The IHSA Sports Medicine Advisory Committee (SMAC) issued a statement reminding all student-athletes, coaches, and schools on the importance of acclimatization:

“The IHSA SMAC reminds member schools that student-athletes may need additional conditioning in order to participate in a full schedule this season. In addition to season/practice requirements, care needs to be given to each student’s individual acclimation as they return to play. When building schedules, attention needs to be given to academic pressure, changes from in-person to remote learning, changes between tiers of mitigation, time spent traveling to events, appropriate time to practice/learn the sport between games, etc. to ensure the student experience truly enhances the academic day.”

IHSA requires all student-athletes to participate in masks (with the exception of swimming & diving, gymnasts on an apparatus and outdoor events where social distancing can occur) and for all game personnel not participating in the contest to also wear masks and adhere to social distancing.

For the full announcement from the IHSA, click here.

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