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WGEM Sports At Six: Wednesday (January 13) IHSA Board Of Directors Meet Once Again To Discuss Winter Sports And Canton Head Basketball Coach Cody Ash Steps Down From Top Post With The Tigers

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The Illinois High School Association Board of Directors met for its regularly scheduled meeting on Wednesday. The Board announced that all IHSA sports not operating under an official IHSA season calendar may begin to conduct contact days as soon as they are allowable per Illinois Department of Public Health mitigations and local school guidance. Contact days normally exist within the IHSA as informal voluntary offseason workouts.

IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson stated, "The IHSA acknowledges the immense mental, emotional, and physical strain that a lack of contact with school programs is causing Illinois high school student-athletes.” He went on to add, “It is our intention that these contact days provide sport-specific training under the leadership of high school coaches. This is an effort to provide a viable sports option to high school athletes given the growing number of student-athletes opting for higher risk opportunities within the state and across state lines." 

Once state leadership allows for low-risk winter sports (Boys & Girls Bowling, Cheerleading, Dance, Girls Gymnastics, Boys Swimming & Diving) to begin participation, those teams will be allowed to begin practice immediately and then continue their season through the season calendar established by the Board later this month. 

The IHSA Board of Directors released a joint statement following today’s meeting:

“We realize there is a desire for finality on a sports schedule for 2020-21, however, we did not believe it would be prudent to lock ourselves into a schedule at a time when IHSA schools are unable to conduct any sports. Per Governor Pritzker, we have hope that low-risk sports may be permitted in certain regions of the state as early as this Friday (January 15). With that in mind, February seems like a realistic timeline to have sports resume statewide. We expect that the events of the next two weeks will go a long way toward informing our opinion on which scheduling option we decide to proceed with. We recognize that if no sports have resumed by February, season lengths could be impacted in certain sports, and that we may need to take a longer look at the likelihood of true seasons being conducted in high-risk sports this year. Our overall goal remains unchanged, as we hope to conduct all IHSA sports during the remainder of the school year calendar. Please know that we see and read many of the comments and messages from student-athletes, coaches, and parents, and that we are doing everything we can to try and bring IHSA sports back within the current parameters we are working in.”

The Board also approved a recommendation to approve a Return Play Procedure Policy that provides guidance to schools on a progressive action plan for student-athletes returning to athletic participation following a COVID-19 infection. The Policy was crafted by the IHSA Sports Medicine Advisory Committee.

On The high school hardwood, Canton head basketball coach Cody Ash has resigned his post with the Tigers after les than 2 years at the helm of the program for health reasons. We'll have an update.

The Wildcats of Culver-Stockton College return to action on the Heart hardwood tonight in Dubuque, Iowa. C-SC will tip-off against Clarke University as the 'Cats try to secure their third win in a row. We'll have an update and a scouting report from Culver head coach Aaron Hill.

The Leathernecks of Western Illinois University won't have a chance to compete on the men's college hardwood this Friday or Saturday as originally scheduled. We'll have the latest from Macomb.

On the high school wrestling mats in the Flower City, Ross Arch has returned from injury and is focused on competing at a high level with the Panthers. We'll check in with the standout senior for an update on his status at PHS.

Tony Cornish Jr.

Tony is the Sports Director for WGEM News.

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