IHSA releases FAQ related to high school sports
The Illinois High School Association 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 March 30.
Following the best practices provided by the state health department, the IHSA office will remain closed through March 30. Staff administrators will be working from home during normal hours. Below is a FAQ the IHSA released Tuesday related to spring sports and COVID-19.
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 nonschool coaches/trainers follow this advice. Doing so could ultimately end up salvaging the spring sports season. The IHSA has already announced several upcoming state tournament cancellations, including this weekend's Class 3A and 4A boys basketball tournaments
SPRING RESUMPTION DATE
Q: Are schools OK to resume practice/games on March 30?
A: March 30 remains the target date, however, there are state governmental, educational and health bodies that will need to approve this action as we get closer to it. It is too early to say definitively that IHSA activities will resume on March 30. Coaches will ultimately need to work in conjunction with their local school administration, as some school districts may choose to be more restrictive in their decisions to return teams to practice or games.
SPRING TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE
Q: Will spring sport state tournaments be conducted on their normal dates after a shortened season, or rescheduled later in June or July?
A: At this time, we are monitoring the updates from state educators and health professionals on the best practices related to COVID-19. If the March 30 deadline appears to be on-schedule in the coming days and weeks, we will communicate an appropriate plan on spring sports to our member schools. It is important to remember this is an unprecedented situation and will remain fluid. It is possible, for example, that schools may reopen at some point, but that other gatherings (like sports) may remain limited.
SPRING SPORT NONSCHOOL PARTICIPATION
Q: Can a student-athlete who is competing in a spring sport (baseball, softball, track, etc.) for their high school practice or play that sport with their nonschool team, of the same sport, (i.e. travel or club team) while school is closed?
A: No. IHSA bylaws do not allow a student-athlete who is in-season to participate on a club or travel team, of the same sport, and then return to play for their high school team. If a student-athlete in this situation chooses to participate with their nonschool team during the school closure, they would not be able to return to their high school team if/when the high school season resumes.
FALL/WINTER SPORT NONSCHOOL PARTICIPATION
Q: Can a student-athlete who is competing in a spring sport (baseball, softball, track, etc.) for their high school practice or play a fall or winter sport (i.e. basketball or girls volleyball) with their nonschool team (i.e. travel or club team) while school is closed?
A: Yes. IHSA bylaws allow a student-athlete to participate on a nonschool team if that sport is not currently in-season at the high school level.
Q: Could a group of student-athletes on a spring sport team gather together and practice on their own, and can that practice take place at their school facility?
A: As long as the school and coach are not officially organizing the practice, they could.
INDIVIDUAL LESSONS #1
Q: Can a spring sport student-athlete take personal lessons while school is closed? Can the personal lessons be taught by their high school coach?
A: Personal lessons are permitted throughout the school year and during the summer. The high school coach may provide personal lessons only if this is part of his/her livelihood and provided to students other than just those attending the high school where he/she coaches.
INDIVIDUAL LESSONS #2
Q: Can personal lessons be taught by their nonschool team coach, and can they occur at the nonschool team facility?
A: Yes. As long as the personal lessons are not part of a nonschool team practice or competition. Additionally, neither the high school coach nor the school can require or arrange for their student- athletes to receive personal lessons from a nonschool coach. Any such lessons should be limited to two players from one high school at a single lesson.
Q: If the spring sports are unable to be conducted this year, or if a student has to repeat a grade for any reason, including related to the COVID-19 school closing, will student-athletes receive an additional year of eligibility?
A: No. Students have eight semesters of eligibility that begin when they enter ninth grade.
Q: During the mandated school closure time frame, can a student-athlete compete in a nonschool event that uses the skill of the sport of an IHSA sport that is currently in season?
A: The student-athlete's athletic director or official representative of their school can complete the nonschool competition request form through their IHSA Schools Center account, and the IHSA will either grant or deny permission. In order for permission to be granted, the IHSA request form must be submitted by the athletic director or official representative at least 10 days prior to the event, the event must be sanctioned by an IHSA approved national governing body or its Illinois affiliate or junior affiliate (i.e. USATF), and the student-athlete may only have received IHSA approval for less than three other nonschool events for this sports season.