IHSA Still Waiting To Hear Fate Of High School Sports Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

Bernie Tafoya
May 27, 2020 - 1:04 pm

    CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- The head of the Illinois High School Association hopes to know in a couple of days if high school athletes will be able to soon start to be able to train with their coaches, but on a very limited basis.

    "It’s extremely challenging, because there’s no roadmap for anything like this," said IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson.

    He said the IHSA will move forward in a "relatively slow pace" with guidance from the Governor's office and the Illinois Department of Public Health.

    Anderson said the IHSA has submitted a plan to state health officials about the next step towards resuming sports. He expects to hear back in the next couple of days and he said the organization is taking it very slowly. He said there'd be no sport-specific training, at first.

    "It would likely be groups of no more than 10 at a time with small groups and social distancing and just engaging in agility, physical activity and exercise," Anderson said.

    Anderson said he does not know what the coming football season would look like, if there is one. He said it may be that the season starts late and might have limited or no fans allowed. All of that is up in the air and depending where the State of Illinois is in its pandemic recovery.

    When it comes to contact between athletes, Anderson said that's still a question mark.

    "It could be in a practice setting, but not in a competitive setting, taking students from one school so there may be an extended timeline of when we are able to start games," he said.

    The IHSA is also concerned some parents and students will opt to stay out of certain sports, because of the pandemic. There's been a trend in recent years for fewer students to participate in football, for instance, because of the potential for head injuries. Now, Anderson said the pandemic "could cause some parents or students themselves to decide, no, I’m not ready to get back going with the sport of football or any sport. The difficulty is about the unknowns about the future and possible spikes and intermittent shutdowns that our schools could go through if the numbers spike with the virus."