The state’s governor announced Wednesday that fall sports in schools would face additional restrictions under new guidance from the Illinois Department of Health.
Gov. JB Pritzker said the state would “ban youth and adult recreational games,” including school-based games, from August 15. Restrictions do not include professional or collegiate sports.
Pritzker said each sport would be classified under three “risk levels” – high, medium and low – determined by “the amount of contact between athletes and their proximity during play”. Nevertheless, some games may be able to move forward with their season in the fall under new restrictions.
Although he did not list every sport, Pritzker said tennis, golf and baseball would be low risk, while basketball, football and volleyball fall under a moderate risk. High-risk sports include such things as football, hockey, and lacrosse.
“It’s not news that anyone wants to hear, but the virus remains dangerous,” Pritzker said during his press conference on Wednesday.
Under the guidance, each risk group will be limited to a few levels of the game:
Level 1: Not just contact practices and training
Level 2: Intra-team scrimmage is permitted for minors with parental consent; No competitive games
Level 3: Intra-conference or intra-EMS-Region 1 or intra-league play / meet only; State- or league-championship
Sports / Meet allowed for low risk sports
Level 4: Tournament, out-of-conference / league play, multi-team meeting, out-of-state play allowed; Championship games allowed
Under the state’s current coronovirus conditions, a look at the permissible levels for each risk group:
• Low-risk games can currently be played at levels 1, 2 and 3
• Medium-risk games can currently play at levels 1 and 2
• High-risk games can currently play at level 1
The announcement comes as the Illinois High School Association, with guidance from state health officials, was scheduled to announce a plan for fall sports in schools.
IHSA had several options to consider, including but not limited to: canceling the fall season together, postponing it to winter or spring (plus condensing seasons), or noncontact Allowing fall sports.
Gov. People close to JB Pritzker had already indicated that a fall game was unlikely.
“IHSA has said that they are basically going to go out of business in the fall,” Pritzker said at a recent press conference.
It is unclear what the IHSA will decide after its private board meeting on Wednesday.
This decision has major implications for high school senior athletes. For Chicago athletes, the decision in particular weighs heavily, given that the game was cut due to last year’s Chicago Sports Union strike.