IESA votes to allow junior high fall sports

Sports

WCIA — Junior high sports will be played in Illinois after all.

The IESA Board of Directors voted Friday to amend a motion passed earlier this month canceling the fall athletics calendar, after Gov. Pritzker passed new COVID-19 guidelines for youth and recreational sports on Wednesday. The IHSA followed suit by announced some high school sports will be played this fall, although limited. Football, boys’ soccer and volleyball will be moved to the spring.

For junior high athletes, golf, softball, baseball and cross country will be allowed, since they fall in the “lower risk” category of Gov. Pritzker’s plan. Practices can start on Monday, with the first games on Aug. 15.

“I speak for the Board when I say they do not like to reverse decisions,” IESA Executive Director Steve Endsley said in a statement. “In this case, the Board believed the information that became available after their initial decision on July 23 warranted a review of that decision. Ultimately, the Board approved the resumption of a regular season in the sports deemed lower risk and a plan for the remainder of the school year.”

A limited state series will be played with regionals for softball and baseball starting the week of Sept. 21. Sectionals will be contested for cross country sometime between Oct. 10-17, with golf playing a sectional on Sep. 9.

“It is important to remember that the 2020-21 school year is not going to be the same as previous years,” Endsley said. “We are hopeful that the remainder of the sports and activities will be held.  Currently, the majority of those activities have been deemed as medium or high risk. The Board felt that the plan they approved provides direction and a blueprint should we be able to move forward. This is the world in which we live today where things change daily. If we want our student-athletes to have the benefits that the privilege of participating in education-based activities provide, everyone has to be accountable for following ALL mandates and requirements.”

The IESA Board of Directors also drafted a schedule for modified seasons for the 2020-21 school year. To view that information, click here: https://nam03.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.iesa.org%2Ftemp%2FIESAAlternativePlan.pdf&data=02%7C01%7Cbbeherns%40wcia.com%7Cf05e83e88ed649ccde7708d8359966ad%7C9e5488e2e83844f6886cc7608242767e%7C0%7C1%7C637318280258304656&sdata=M3SngNPDlM4gJFQwjcWhrF3V7VAzpdAlVzAVe8XKB1Q%3D&reserved=0

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