Will winter sports happen? IHSA invites Pritzker to next meeting

Illinois high schoolers will have to hold off on playing winter sports, for now.

On Wednesday, the Illinois High School Association pushed back practices but it also invited the governor and other state leaders to take part in its next meeting.

Even though practice was originally supposed to start Monday, it is looking more and more like the season will be delayed.

“We're aware of students quickly leaving our state, families leaving our state with the possibility of another sport being delayed, or much delayed,” said IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson.

Governor JB Pritzker has said basketball should be moved to the spring, while the IHSA believes a winter hoops season can be done safely under new COVID protocols.

“We were engaged in scrimmaging and use of contact days and really saw no spikes in the virus in any of the schools where that was being conducted,” Anderson said.

He says the IHSA board still does not have adequate information from the governor or state health officials on when their proposed "spring" basketball season could even start.

“We really don't know. We haven't been able to engage in a conversation to discover: what does he mean about basketball in the spring? What does that timeline look like?” Anderson said.

Since the governor moved basketball from "medium" to "high" risk last month, Anderson says the state and the IHSA have yet to get on the same page.

“We at least hope to engage in a conversation and establish some lines of communication. We feel like there's been a bad feeling about the board's action,” Anderson said.

The IHSA has invited the governor's office and the Illinois Department of Public Health to its board meeting November 19, hoping for meaningful dialogue. A formal vote would have to take place to officially move basketball to next calendar year.