High school sports remain on 'pause.' IHSA hopeful for restart early in 2021.
The "pause" on winter high school sports continues, with one possible exception.
The Illinois High School Association board of directors announced Monday a season change for girls badminton, updated contact days, and reiterated a timeline on sport schedules will follow discussions with state officials.
The board voted to move girls badminton from spring to winter within the modified 2020-'21 calendar.
"Given its status as a low-risk sport, we believe we can safely conduct badminton in the winter as soon as the current mitigations are lifted," IHSA executive director Craig Anderson said. "The feedback we have heard from our schools is this is an optimal time to conduct badminton as they look at balancing sports and facilities throughout the remainder of the school year."
The board also permitted the allowance of contact days for out-of-season sports as soon as the Illinois Department of Public Health and Gov. J.B. Pritzker's office lift Tier 3 mitigations. Contact days will be restricted to six hours per student-athlete per sport each week, and can include practices, drills and intrasquad scrimmages allowable under IDPH guidance. Competition against any other high school -- conducted in-state or out of state -- is prohibited.
"The board felt it was important for the physical and mental health of our student-athletes to resume contacts days for all out-of-season sports as soon as IDPH deems it safe," Anderson said. "Winter sports are not included, as we anticipate all low-risk winter sports will be able to begin their seasons at the same time.
"Basketball remains the outlier in the equation. We hope to be able to conduct basketball during the winter season, but if we cannot, basketball will be provided the same contact day opportunity as we determine where the basketball seasons fits best in the remainder of the school year."
The board plans to meet with representatives from IDPH and the governor's office prior to January to develop a timeline for the resumption of winter sports. The board would then call a special meeting to finalize scheduling for the winter, spring, and summer seasons.
"The board reiterated Monday that they plan to do everything in their power to provide a season for every IHSA sport in 2020-'21," said Anderson. "There have been no cancellations of any sports, nor discussions about canceling any sports, thus far.
"The board remains optimistic, especially as vaccines begin to be administered, that we will return to conducting IHSA sports early in 2021."