Notre Dame players during practice on July 6, 2020. | Kirsten Stickney/For the Sun-Times
According to several sources, the Illinois High School Association will announce Wednesday that the basketball season can start as scheduled.
According to several sources, the Illinois High School Association will announce Wednesday that the basketball season can start as scheduled. It’s a totally unexpected move that directly contradicts the guidelines Gov. J.B. Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Public Health outlined on Tuesday.
Pritzker and the IDPH put winter sports on an indefinite hold and moved basketball from a medium-risk sport to a higher-risk sport in the IDPH guidelines.
‘‘As with sports in the fall, nothing is ‘canceled,’ just put on hold until we’re through the thick of this pandemic,’’ Pritzker said in a statement.
According to the IHSA calendar, basketball practices are scheduled to start on Nov. 16 and the first games can be played on Nov. 30
“After diligent discussion, the Board has made the decision today to follow the recommendation of the IHSA SMAC as it relates to basketball,” IHSA spokesperson Matt Troha wrote in an email to athletic directors. “The Board remains considerate of rising COVID-19 cases in Illinois and understand the importance of adhering to safety guidelines for the good of all citizens. However, the Board has not been presented any causal evidence that rising COVID-19 cases make basketball more dangerous to play by the IDPH or any other health organization nationally or internationally.”
The email says the IHSA will “allow local school officials to make decisions related to participation.”
The disagreement between the IHSA and the governor/IDPH likely means the final decision will come down to the individual school districts. Theoretically the school districts would open themselves up to tremendous liability by playing against the guidelines of the governor and the IDPH.
More to come on this breaking story.