Radtke: IHSA's Anderson says no date set for meeting with state officials

  • Craig Anderson

    Craig Anderson

 
 
Updated 12/17/2020 1:50 PM

Social media headlines can, oft times, be misleading.

Take this past Monday for example.

 

Shortly after the Illinois High School Association's board of directors meeting, the IHSA sent a news release with this statement: "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."

Boom went social media. "IHSA to meet with state officials about resuming winter sports," was the general gist of the headlines.

Not so fast, kids.

The intention here is not to be a Debbie Downer, but to clarify that IHSA statement.

The question to IHSA executive director Craig Anderson Thursday morning was this: Do you have a date set to meet with state officials?

"We do not," Anderson said. "It is our hope to meet ... we've been told someone is trying to set it up ... but there's no date yet."

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And the clock goes tick tock.

Let's review the current IHSA calendar. It says winter sports, which have yet to even start, are to conclude Feb. 13, and the spring season, which now includes football, boys soccer and girls volleyball, is to commence on Feb. 15.

It's going to be tough to keep that timeline, especially as there have been no changes to the state's current COVID mitigations. And Anderson agrees.

"Frankly it's quite likely there will have to be some season modifications," he said. "A season needs to be more than four weeks.

"In my opinion these answers will be a result as to what the state will permit as to our return to sports. With the way things are now concerning low, medium and high-risk sports, basketball (a high-risk sport) is going to be a challenge."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

So far, the state agencies have given no indication as to when anything will change. If you look at how things have evolved since the pandemic hit in March -- and I sure hope I'm wrong here -- there's a slim-to-none chance things will change over the next 30 days. While the metrics didn't suffer a huge spike after Thanksgiving, caution is heavy in the air as we approach the holiday season over the next 2-3 weeks, especially as COVID-related deaths continue to escalate.

That doesn't mean Anderson and the IHSA are giving up.

"I continue to want to be able to engage a conversation (with state officials)," Anderson said. "I understand they're very busy with regards to the vaccine, but it's clear that as far as sports are concerned everything is still up in the air."

Which lends to continued frustration for Anderson, among many others.

Is it time to think about moving basketball to spring -- as Gov. J.B. Pritzker has said it should be? Is it time to think about extending the 2020-21 sports calendar beyond its current June 26 end?

"Getting into July could conflict with our next school term," Anderson said. "There's really nothing we can do until we know more from the state, "Anderson said. "It's frustrating for everyone. People want answers -- we want answers -- but we just don't have any right now.

"The days weigh heavy right now for so many of us."

And the clock goes tick tock.

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