Illinois appellate court will not bar CPS runners from meet

The Illinois Appellate Court says it won't immediately rule on a lower court decision allowing Chicago Public Schools cross-country runners to compete at the state championship meet Saturday.

The Illinois High School Association is seeking to overturn an order allowing the runners to compete in the postseason. The IHSA blocked their participation because a teachers' strike prevented their attendance at the regional meet.

The three-judge panel said Thursday it will rule on the IHSA appeal, but not before the meet in Peoria. IHSA executive director Craig Anderson said the organization "remains respectful to the courts" and the spotlight is now "where it belongs, on the student-athletes."

IHSA policy says athletes whose districts are on strike cannot compete, though an exception is made when strikes begin after the start of the postseason. Cook County Judge Neil Cohen last week called that an arbitrary distinction in ruling CPS runners could compete in sectionals.