WCIA — A group of high school coaches, athletes, parents and fans are going to make sure their collective voice is heard this weekend, they want high school sports back immediately. The #LetUsPlay movement is gaining traction across the state with rallies taking place this week in the Chicagoland area. A bigger multi-site event is planned for Saturday at the state capitol in Springfield and in downtown Chicago.
“The goal is to get these kids back playing,” Sacred Heart-Griffin football coach Ken Leonard said. “Just the mental health, they need it desperately for their safety. We just want to play. We’re hoping the governor will listen cause with all the states surrounding us playing, I think as far as the science of this, it backs this up that we can play now.”
Leonard is one of dozens of coaches across Illinois who are speaking up after the IHSA gave Gov. Pritzker, the Illinois Department of Public Health and the Illinois State Board of Education control over the organization’s Return to Play Guidelines on July 14, exactly two months ago. Now the IHSA wants it back. Executive Director Craig Anderson sent a note to the Governor last week, asking for the power to take over decision making moving forward.
The group organizing the rally wants all high school sports to return, along with the ability to play a full state series. The chance to compete for a state championship is an important piece of returning to play, according to Leonard.