IHSA remains hopeful for return of spring sports seasons

In response to Governor JB Pritzker extending the ‘shelter in place’ order until April 30, the IHSA has announced that they are hopeful a shortened spring sports season will remain possible. 

“We continue to support the possibility of our member schools completing both regular and postseason spring sport seasons,” IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson said.

Students are currently scheduled to return to school on May 1, and with that date, the IHSA is “optimistic that [the] return, followed by a to-be-determined practice period, can still result in a spring sports season.”

While May 1 is the current target date, “there are state governmental, educational, and health bodies that will need to approve [the IHSA’s] action,” according to the IHSA website, which also noted that “it is too early to definitively say that IHSA activities will resume on May 1.”

If spring sports do return in early May, athletic seasons will have to be extended beyond the traditional timeframe, which will lead into the summer.

Although there are currently no plans to allow sports seasons to extend all the way into July, the IHSA Board of Directors has been “highly supportive of creating an exemption to the IHSA Season Limitation by-law to allow spring sports to play into late June.” 

During this school closure, “student-athletes who are in-season may not participate on a club or travel team, of the same sport, and then return to play for their high school team,” according to IHSA by-laws.

With athletes anxious to compete and continue to perfect their craft, school coaches are allowed to provide guidance on at-home workouts and skill-building exercises for their players. However, school-team coaches cannot require participation due to the closing of schools and COVID restrictions.

The IHSA is cognizant that “any further school postponements, or the cessation of physical school attendance for the remainder of the year, will almost certainly result in the cancellation of all remaining IHSA sports and activities this school year.”

“At this time, we are monitoring the updates from state educators and health professionals on the best practices related to COVID-19. If the May 1 deadline appears to be on-schedule in the coming days and weeks, we will communicate an appropriate plan on spring sports to our member schools,” the IHSA announced, adding that “it is important to remember this is an unprecedented situation and will remain fluid.”