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IHSA administration hopeful spring sports can resume

By Josh Brown
Daily Record

As the number of days without sports continues to grow and the thought of losing an entire season of contests looms larger each day thanks to the outbreak of COVID-19, the executive director of the IHSA is hopeful the spring sports season can eventually resume.

All games and practices have been suspended as a result of mandatory school closures originally through March 30 and now with the latest mandate from the governor, April 7. If and when play resumes, IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson says there could be a modification to the spring season calendar.

"At this point, much like our students and schools waiting for advice as to when things can get back to some normalcy, we are doing the same thing," Anderson said in a radio interview last week. "We are tentatively on a hold. We are hopeful that spring sports can be played out with some form of regular season and some form of postseason and that's our hope. Obviously the future timelines that become available to us will dictate that, but that's the information we are sharing with our member schools. We are simply in a holding pattern to wait to see when some anticipated timelines might be for us to get back to school number one, then number two how quickly we could resume practices and hopefully regular season contests with the possibility of only upon permission of our board of directors the possibility if necessary to extend a little later postseason for our spring sports."

In a section on the IHSA website (www.ihsa.org), the IHSA reaffirmed their stance during these unprecedented times.

"The Illinois High School Association (IHSA) is supportive of the stance taken by the Illinois State Superintendent of Schools that no IHSA member school should organize their teams for any spring sport practices or games while Illinois high schools are closed through April 7," the release says. "Following the best practices provided by the state health department, the IHSA office will remain closed through April 7. Staff administrators will be working from home during normal hours. During this time of mandated closure, the IHSA does not believe it is necessary or prudent for any number of students to gather for workouts, regardless of how those students gather or whether any IHSA rule is broken by said gathering. That includes informal/player-led practices or any type of instructional session. National, state, and local governmental leaders are clear: to help our country slow the spread of this pandemic, the best thing society can do is limit its interaction with one another, so, despite how difficult this may be, the IHSA strongly recommends students, parents, and non-school coaches/trainers follow this advice. Doing so could ultimately end up salvaging the spring sports season."

In an email sent to school administrators and coaches Wednesday, Anderson reiterated the IHSA's want to have a spring season in some form or fashion.

"As the IHSA staff and board continue to monitor the updates from government offices as well as state and local health departments, we continue to support the possibility of our member schools completing both regular and post spring sports seasons," Anderson said. "The date schools can return to regular session will determine the length of the spring sports season and the potential of an IHSA State Series. We will be working with our Sports Medicine Advisory Committee (SMAC) to determine the need for an acclimatization period in advance of competition. No timeline has been set at this time. We are considering an extension of the spring sports season limitation to provide more participation opportunities for students. This may include movement of the post season timelines and the state series. We will continue to provide updates as new information is available. We appreciate your patience and understanding."

Also on the IHSA website is a list of questions related to spring sports and COVID-19 that try to answer what can and can't be done during this time period. If you have a question that is not answered there, you can view a list of staff administrators and responsibilities and email the appropriate staff member with your question.



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