IHSA: Basketball Season Rolls On Despite Governor’s Orders

Despite guidelines given by Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker and the state public health officials that put winter sports on an indefinite hold and moved basketball to a “higher-risk sport”, the Illinois High School Association (IHSA) announced on Wednesday that the basketball season can start as scheduled.

According to a report from the Chicago Sun-Times, the disagreement between Gov. Pritzker and the state’s public health department means the final decision will fall onto individual schools district to go forward with winter sports.

Photo: Wesley Sykes / Great American Media Services

Theoretically, the school districts would open themselves up to tremendous liability by playing against the guidelines of the governor and the IDPH, the Sun-Times reported.

“We’ve told school districts what the rules are and I think they all know,” Pritzker told the Sun-Times. “So IHSA may have their views of it but school districts know what the rules are and it’s unfortunate but they would probably be taking on legal liability if they went ahead and moved beyond what the state has set as the mitigation standard.”

IHSA executive director Craig Anderson told the Sun-Times that he wasn’t sure what defying the governor and the IDPH’s guidelines could mean for schools.

“I really don’t know what is going to happen from now till Nov. 30,” Anderson said. “It’s a big deal to say to government officials and health departments that we are going to go a different direction from how you are advising. I have no idea how that is going to play out for us.”

Some athletic directors have expressed concerns that should they defy the guideless from the government agencies, the Illinois State Board of Education may be able to withhold funding.

The IHSA Board of Directors released the following statement:

“After diligent discussion, the board has made the decision today to follow the recommendation of the [IHSA Sports Medicine Advisory Committee] as it relates to basketball. The board remains considerate of rising COVID-19 cases in Illinois and understands the importance of adhering to safety guidelines for the good of all citizens. however, the Board has not been presented any causal evidence that rising COVID-19 cases make basketball more dangerous to play by the IDPH or any other health organization nationally or internationally.”

To read the full story from the Chicago Sun-Times on the IHSA looking to push through with the winter sports seasons despite the governor’s newly released guidelines, click here