WCIA — The IHSA announced a modified version of the postseason will take place for fall sports, but don’t expect to see big state tournaments or state champions crowned for cross country, golf, girls’ swimming and diving and tennis. The approved plan by the IHSA Board of Directors, will allow for a single round of regional geographic competition to happen the week of October 19-25, with most of the events taking place on October 24.
“The health and safety of the student-athletes, their coaches, and their school communities has been our priority from the start of the pandemic,” IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson said in a statement. “Throughout the spring and summer, we looked for ways to reengage student-athletes with their peers and coaches, and our membership has shared countless positive experiences from that initial ‘return to play’ period. We have found similar value in being able to conduct fall sports, and believe the participants deserve a culminating experience if we can offer it safely.”
More details for each sport’s state series is expected to be released in coming weeks including dates, schedules, awards, structure and safety precautions. All IDPH COVID-19 guidelines will have to be met for the competition to take place.
The IHSA Board of Directors also approved a location change for the softball state tournament. Starting in the spring, the Louisville Slugger Complex in Peoria will host the finals, replacing the Eastside Centre, home to the finals previously since 2001. The Rantoul Family Sports Complex had put in a bid, along with the Eastside Centre, Chicago Bandits Stadium in Rosemont and Southern Illinois University.
The IHSA annual budget is expected to take a 40% cut, with additional losses possible.
“The financial strains placed on many businesses due to COVID-19 are also being felt by the IHSA,” Anderson said in a statement. “As a non-profit organization, the IHSA relies on fan attendance at IHSA postseason events to account for approximately 70% percent of our annual income. We have made considerable reductions already, and realize that more will be forthcoming as we navigate the challenges of this school year.”