IHSA Adds Flexibility to Athletic Scheduling

The Illinois High School Association (IHSA), in coordination with the state’s health department, has released updated scheduling guidelines that will allow for more flexibility in the upcoming athletic seasons.

As athletics resumed in the state, schools were limited to scheduling regional and conference-only competitions amid the COVID-19 pandemic. But, now, according to a report in NBC-5 Chicago, schools in ‘Phase 4’ regions can begin looking out-of-conference for games and, possibly, look forward to postseason tournaments.

Photo: Wesley Sykes / Great American Media Services

Low-risk sports like swimming and diving, bowling, gymnastics, softball, and baseball will be allowed to schedule out-of-conference games, out-of-state games, tournaments, and state series as part of the ‘Phase 4, Tier 1’ rollout guidelines, NBC-5 Chicago reported. Those schools in ‘Tier 2’, as well as ‘Tier 1’ moderate-risk indoor sports like volleyball and water polo, will be able to schedule out-of-region games within 30 miles.

High-risk sports, such as football, wrestling, and basketball, will be permitted conference-only schedules until their respective regions reach Phase 4, at which point IHSA schools will be able to schedule out-of-conference games within 30 miles, according to NBC-5 Chicago.

Competition will be allowed to resume this month in seven sports, including basketball, girls gymnastics, badminton, and boys swimming and diving, which was announced in late January. Boys soccer practice is slated to begin on March 1, while football practice begins two days later with IHSA games starting on March 19.

All student-athletes in indoor sports, with the exception of swimming and diving and gymnastics, will be required to wear masks during competition. All student-athletes not participating in events, along with all coaches and officials, will also be required to wear masks at all times. Student-athletes in outdoor events will be required to wear masks when social distancing is not possible, including in dugouts and on benches and sidelines.

Depending on the tier and phase of your region, up to 50 spectators can be allowed at games moving forward.

To read the full report from NBC-5 Chicago on the IHSA adding more flexibility in scheduling, click here