Illinois high school fall sports pushed to spring, guidelines issued for youth/adult rec leagues

Friday Night Lights in February a distinct possibility as COVID-19 continues pushing things back

Alex Degman
July 29, 2020 - 7:57 pm

    SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (KMOX/AP) -- COVID-19 has forced the Illinois High School Association to push most fall sports into the spring.

    The IHSA decision to move football, boys soccer and volleyball to a February-to-May season came hours after Gov. J.B. Pritzker barred interscholastic play for contact or intense sports such as football, wrestling and competitive cheering and dance -- all considered high risk sports under new guidelines issued Wednesday.

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    They apply to rec leagues, school sports, club sports and more -- they're based on how risky each sport is.

    "Whether this year is their first time on the court or it's their senior year season, this isn't news anyone wants to hear," said Pritzker at a news conference, noting how disappointed students and parents must be. "But this virus remains dangerous, and for right now this is the best thing that we can do for the health and safety of our families under the current circumstances."

    The guidance places each sport in a risk category of lower, medium or higher. For example, tennis, archery and badminton are lower risk, basketball, soccer and volleyball are medium risk, football, hockey and competitive cheer and dance are higher."

    Tennis and baseball simply don't carry the higher risk inherent in wrestling and football," said Pritzker, although baseball could only be played if precautions are taken. 

    High school baseball season isn't until spring anyway, but under the new guidelines baseball teams right now could only practice and play against each other as a medium risk sport.

    Then there are four levels of play allowed based on current infection rates:

    1. No contact practices only
    2. Intra-team scrimmages allowed with parental consent for minors, still no competitive play.
    3. Intra-conference, Intra-EMS-region, intra-league play only. State or league championship games allowed for low-risk sports only.
    4. Tournaments, out of state play, championship games allowed.

    More details about the new guidelines can be found here.

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    © 2020 KMOX (Entercom). All rights reserved.

    1. No contact practices only
    2. Intra-team scrimmages allowed with parental consent for minors, still no competitive play.
    3. Intra-conference, Intra-EMS-region, intra-league play only. State or league championship games allowed for low-risk sports only.
    4. Tournaments, out of state play, championship games allowed.

    More details about the new guidelines can be found here.

    The Associated Press contributed to this report.