Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Wednesday announced new guidelines on youth sports in Illinois due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Later Wednesday afternoon, the Illinois High School Association revealed changes to its fall sports schedules, including moving high school football, volleyball, and boys soccer to February 2021.
The governor categorized each sport into one of three levels: Higher, medium and lower. Sports such as football, wrestling and competitive cheer and dance were classified as high risk; basketball, soccer and volleyball were among those in medium risk; and baseball, softball (both with restrictions), swimming, tennis, and archery were among the lower risk sports.
Restrictions were then put in place based on each category’s risk level. Those sports in the highest risk classification are currently only permitted “no-contact practices and trainings only”; medium-risk sports may have “intra-team scrimmages, with parental consent for minors; no competitive play”; and lower-risk sports are permitted “intra-conference or Intra-EMS-region1 or intra-league play/meets only; state- or league-championship game/meet allowed for low-risk sports only.”
No sports currently qualify under the state’s loosest guideline, which permits “tournaments, out-of-conference/league play, multi-team meets, out-of-state play allowed; championship games allowed.”
The restrictions go into effect Saturday, Aug. 15.
According to the governor’s office, “This guidance pertains to all youth and adult recreational sports, including, but not limited to, school-based sports (IHSA & IESA), travel clubs, private leagues and clubs, recreational leagues and centers, and park district sports programs. This guidance does NOT pertain to professional sports leagues or college division level sports.”
The IHSA announced that it will conduct the following fall sports from Aug. 10 to Oct. 17: boys and girls cross country, boys and girls golf, girls tennis and girls swimming.
The traditional winter sports will run from Nov. 16 through Feb. 13. The delayed fall sports — which include football, boys soccer, and girls volleyball — will start Feb. 15 through May 1, while spring sports will now start May 3.
Wednesday’s complete guidance from the governor: Sports Guidance
The Illinois Elementary School Association last week announced it had canceled most fall sports up through middle school, leaving a decision on girls basketball (scheduled to begin Aug. 31) for a later date.