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WGEM Sports At Six: Thursday (Nov. 19) IHSA Holds A Special Virtual Meeting Without Representatives From Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s Office Present As They Place A “Pause” On Prep Winter Sports Schedule Plus Local Reaction From QHS Athletic Director Scott Douglas

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The Illinois High School Association Board of Directors met for a special virtual meeting earlier today. To maintain compliance with the most recent mitigations issued by Governor Pritzker that take effect on November 20, the IHSA Board issued guidance to pause all IHSA winter sports and activities by November 20.

“All IHSA sports and activities will cease by November 20 for what we hope is a short-term pause,” said IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson. “Given the rising COVID-19 cases in our state and region, we support the Governor’s mitigations and believe it is imperative for everyone in the state to do their part in following them so that we can return to high school sports participation as soon as possible.”

The Board will revisit the status of winter sports at their update discussion on December 2, and again at their regularly scheduled meeting on December 14 if necessary.

The Board provided the following participation clarifications to member schools:

Winter Season Start Date: Given the timing of the Governor’s new mitigations, November 16 will not be recognized as the start date of the winter season, regardless of whether winter sport teams conducted any official tryouts or practices. A new start date will be established for each sport once winter sports can be conducted again.

Conditioning & Weight Training: Conditioning and weight training before and after school are paused. Local schools will decide if conditioning and weight training programs that are a part of their academic curriculums continue or are ceased.

Open Gyms: Are paused and cannot be conducted at this time.

Outdoor Workouts: Outdoor workouts may be conducted in any sport in groups of 10 or less with masks and social distancing. Coaches are counted toward the 10. Use of sport-specific equipment is allowable with proper sanitizing practices.

One-on-One Skill Work: Per Tier 3 Resurgence Mitigations and with school approval, one-on-one skill work between a coach and student-athlete is permitted for winter sports only, but is limited to one coach and one student-athlete per facility.

Activities: Practices and competitions may only be conducted virtually. 

Non-School Participation: All sports organizations in the state, school or non-school, have been directed to abide by the Governor’s mitigations. IHSA coaches cannot organize non-school participation in any fashion. IHSA by-law 3.100 will be in effect once winter sport seasons begin following this pause. 



ACTION ITEMS
1. The Board approved a recommendation to modify IHSA By-laws 5.343 and 5.353 for this school year, removing the requirement that dancers and cheerleaders be required to participate on their school’s winter sideline team in order to be eligible to compete in the IHSA State Series.

2. The Board approved a recommendation to dissolve a boys swimming & diving cooperative agreement between Yorkville (HS) and Aurora (IMSA). IMSA is not currently in session.


APPEALS & ELIGIBILITY RULINGS
1. The Board modified the Executive Director’s ruling on a student from Lombard (Montini). The student was initially ruled ineligible for not meeting compliance with IHSA By-law 3.040 and its sub-sections. The student is now eligible immediately after providing new information.


DISCUSSION
At each meeting of the Board of Directors, there are certain items the Board discusses, but upon which no action is taken. The following is a report of those items from the November 19, 2020, agenda:

1. The Board discussed IHSA eligibility by-laws 3.022 and 4.022. A recent survey of IHSA member schools did not support waiving the by-laws during the second semester of the 2020-21 school year. No further action is expected regarding these by-laws.

2. The Board discussed contact days, voicing support for continuing contact days once the state is out of Tier 3 Resurgence Mitigations. This will be reviewed at the December Board meeting.  

3. The Board discussed seeking feedback from advisory committees on winter, spring and summer sport season lengths should winter sport seasons be delayed beyond December. This will be reviewed at the December Board meeting.  

4. The Board discussed State Series plans for winter sports and activities, as well as winter sport spectator guidelines. Both will be reviewed at the December Board meeting.

Tony Cornish Jr.

Tony is the Sports Director for WGEM News.

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