WCIA — It’s news that most high school coaches, athletes and fans were expecting to hear on Tuesday, but that doesn’t make it any easier. The IHSA officially announced it has canceled all spring sport tournaments due to COVID-19.
“As disappointing as it may be for students, it is the right decision for their health and safety, as well as for the health and safety of the general public, as we cope with this unprecedented pandemic,” IHSA executive director Craig Anderson said in a statement. “We support the decision by Governor Pritzker and the Illinois State Board of Education, and given the logistics, we simply felt we could not conduct state tournaments that meet the expectations of our member schools this spring.”
The IHSA Board of Directors met Tuesday morning virtually to vote on the matter. Local teams that are impacted include baseball, softball, track and field, girls’ soccer, bass fishing and boys tennis. The organization is leaving the door open though for playing games this summer, if Gov. J.B. Prtizker re-opens the state and gives the go-ahead. This is will likely be a limited amount of games.
“The possibility of playing a spring sport game this summer is about closure,” Anderson said. “If we are able to offer this opportunity, no student-athlete would be restricted by having already practiced or competed with a non-school team.”
Summer contact days (such as fall/winter sport practices) are also suspended for the year, unless state government and medical leaders indicate it to be safe. The news follows Gov. Pritzker’s announcement last Friday that all schools will not resume in-person for the rest of the semester.
“Our thoughts right now are with all the impacted students, coaches and communities. Especially the seniors,” said Anderson. “It will be difficult for them to find a silver lining in all of this, but we stress that even if they don’t get the chance to compete again at the high school level, they are better for having been a part of their respective high school teams. By participating in high school sports and activities, they were exposed to life lessons in teamwork, leadership, and overcoming adversity that are difficult to replicate elsewhere. The latter is applicable now more than ever. We hope that we can band together and refocus all our efforts on supporting the doctors, nurses, first responders, and all the other essential personnel who are putting their health and safety on the line each day to keep us safe.”