The IHSA will delay some fall sports until next spring, it announced Wednesday in a memo to schools.
Football, girls volleyball and boys soccer will compete in spring 2021. Golf, cross country, girls tennis and girls swimming and diving will compete this fall in groups of 50 or fewer people. Those sports must compete within their conference or within their Illinois COVID-19 region.
Teams in all seasons will play shortened regular seasons. State tournaments will be determined on a sport-by-sport basis.
Remaining fall sports will compete from Aug. 10 to Oct. 24 and winter sports from Nov. 16 to Feb. 13. Some traditional spring sports will be moved to a new summer period. Football, boys soccer, girls volleyball, girls badminton, boys gymnastics and water polo will compete in the spring from Feb. 15 until May 1. Baseball, softball, track and field, girls soccer, boys volleyball, lacrosse and boys tennis will compete in the summer from May 3 to June 26.
“This plan, like nearly every aspect of our current lives, remains fluid,” IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson said. “Changes may come, and if they do, we will be agile while putting safety and students first. It was important that we provide a framework today for our student-athletes, coaches, administrators and officials to begin preparing for the 2020-21 school year.”
The decision, made official during Wednesday’s IHSA executive board meeting, came days after IHSA officials met with the Illinois Department of Public Health and the Illinois State Board of Education on July 24.
The announcement came only hours after Gov. JB Pritzker announced new restrictions on youth and adult sports. Pritzker and the IDPH put together a tiered plan, with lower-risk sports allowed to compete more quickly than contact sports, such as football. The IDPH guidelines also pertain to travel leagues, recreational leagues and park district sports.
Illinois joins a long list of states that have delayed fall sports at high schools. Five states – California, Nevada, New Mexico, Virginia and Washington – and Washington, D.C., will not play football in the fall, according to the National Federation of State High School Associations. California won’t play until December or January.
Neighboring Wisconsin last week announced it would delay some sports more than others, with football starting Sept. 7. Other neighbors, Indiana, Iowa and Missouri, are forging ahead as originally planned.
Earlier this month, the IHSA was named a defendant in a lawsuit that asserted the IHSA didn't have the authority to enforce its summer workout restrictions. The next day, the IHSA announced it would defer its decision-making process to state health officials at IDPH and state education officials at ISBE.