IESA reverses decision, will hold contests for fall sports

The Illinois Elementary School Association on Friday reversed its previous decision to cancel its fall sports season and announced it will hold contests and limited state series in baseball, softball, golf and cross country.

The reversal comes one week after the IESA Board of Directors announced the cancellation of fall sports. The board reconvened this week after Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker issued new guidance for adult and youth sports Wednesday.

Softball, baseball and cross-country teams may begin their practices Monday, and competitions can be held starting August 15. A regional-only state series will be held for baseball and softball during the week of September 21. A sectional-only postseason for cross country will be held sometime between October 10-17. A sectional-only postseason for golf will be held September 9.

"I speak for the Board when I say they do not like to reverse decisions. In this case, the Board believed the information that became available after their initial decision on July 23 warranted a review of that decision," IESA Executive Director Steve Endsley said in a press release. "Ultimately, the Board approved the resumption of a regular season in the sports deemed lower risk and a plan for the remainder of the school year."

The full IESA plan calls for shortened regular seasons for both winter and spring sports. Winter sports (boys basketball, girls volleyball, wrestling, competitive cheerleading) will be contested from January through March. Spring sports (girls basketball, bowling, track and field) will run February through May.

Schools will be limited to two contests per week (baseball and softball teams are allowed three games if one is a doubleheader) with no tournaments or events with more than three teams.

If an Illinois COVID Region or county is placed in Phase 3 or lower of the Restore Illinois plan, all schools within that region will have their contests suspended or canceled. Spectators and gatherings remain subject to IDPH guidelines. Regular-season play should also be limited to conference opponents or schools within the same general geographic region.