IESA announces cancellation of fall season

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The Illinois Elementary School Association announced on Friday that the board voted to unanimously cancel the regular season and IESA state series in baseball, softball, boys and girls golf and boys and girls cross country.

There are no plans to try and reschedule the activities or conduct them later in the school year due in part to when and if Illinois high schools play their contests. A decision on IHSA fall sports is expected in a Wednesday board meeting.

The board delayed any decision on girls basketball. The first day of girls basketball practice is scheduled for August 31. The board will meet again in late August to make a decision regarding girls basketball.

The news release sent by the IESA said the limitations in place by the IDPH limiting contact between athletes and that students must be socially distanced by at least 6 feet makes the administration and conduct of games and contest difficult to impossible.

"Because summer leagues and travel ball are taking place, this may make the decision of the IESA Board of Directors seem odd," the release stated. "The difference is that schools will be held to the IDPH mandates and the youth summer contests are not. While there are plenty of youth league baseball and softball teams playing games and tournaments this summer, many are not adhering to the same stringent guidelines."

The IESA release said that while COVID-19 has changed the world, the decision is not the end of the world.

"It is not the news that most students and parents want. At the end of the day, we work with junior high and middle school students. They are not professional athletes; they are not college athletes; they are not high school athletes," the release said. "They are not missing out on any scholarship opportunities. These are mainly 12-14 year old students who will have many more opportunities to participate (perhaps even later this school year in other activities). Activities, despite their importance in the development of students, can never take precedence over the health and safety of those same students."