BLOOMINGTON – The Illinois High School Association (IHSA) Board of Directors met for its regularly scheduled virtual meeting on Oct. 19, where the Board provided a timetable on winter sports decisions, and also voted to provide a one-time accommodation to the IHSA’s Independent Team By-law (3.100) in some sports.
The Board set a special board meeting for Oct. 28 to announce more details about winter sports.
“We understand that student-athletes, coaches, parents, officials, and fans are anxious to learn more details about the plans for IHSA winter sports,” said IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson. “We feel like we are making positive strides in our discussions with the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) to be allowed to conduct IHSA winter sports as scheduled. We believe we have a plan to do so safely and want to provide IDPH with ample time to review the winter sports plans, and supportive data, we have provided them. We expect to have a response from IDPH with final recommendations for winter sport plans, including any accommodations and postseason plans, by Oct. 26. We will then reconvene our Board to officially vote and announce that information shortly thereafter.”
The Board’s accommodation to the IHSA Independent Team By-law (3.100) will be applicable for the 2020-21 school year only and will grant specific exemptions to spring and summer season sports. Winter sports (basketball, wrestling, boys swimming & diving, cheerleading, dance, bowling, girls’ gymnastics), which remain in their traditional season, will have no accommodation related to the by-law.
“The Board determined it was prudent to make modifications to the independent team by-law for the sports that were displaced from their traditional high school season,” said Anderson. “They also came up with what we believe is a reasonable compromise for summer sports. The Board is hopeful that the high school teams will be given priority when conflicts occurs. We believe making a modification now will allow high school coaches and non-school team coaches to begin communication on how they can collaboratively resolve scheduling conflicts.”
Sports competing in the IHSA’s 2021 spring season (football, boys’ soccer, girls’ volleyball) will be granted the accommodation to participate simultaneously on school teams and non-school teams throughout the duration of their high school season (Feb. 15-May 1).
Sports competing in the IHSA’s 2021 summer season (baseball, softball, track & field, girls’ soccer, boys’ volleyball, lacrosse, boys’ tennis) will be granted the accommodation to participate simultaneously on school teams and non-school teams beginning on June 4. The summer season is slated to run from April 19 to June 26.
“Given the unique challenges of this school year, it remains important for our Board to be flexible and creative in seeking participation opportunities for students,” said IHSA Board Vice-President Robert Nolting, the Principal at Andrew High School in Tinley Park. “From my perspective, I am less worried about teams competing for conference or postseason titles this year. The goal is to get kids back being active to benefit their mental and physical well-being. These (independent team) by-laws aim to preserve competitive equity, but for this school year, we feel the right decision is to provide an accommodation that maximizes participation.”
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 Oct. 19 agenda: