Illinois HS Association Sued Over Delayed Sports

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A group of parents in the western suburbs of Chicago are suing the Illinois High School Association, saying a delay of football and changes to the sports calendar were implemented against the organization’s own rules. 

The lawsuit alleges that IHSA broke its own rules when it made changes to high school sports back in July. Football and other high-risk sports were moved to spring because of the COVID-19 outbreak.

“The IHSA Board of Directors has issued a series of guidelines that alter the 2020-21 sports seasons mandated by the IHSA By-laws,”the suit reads, according to the Chicago Sun-Times, which obtained a copy. “The guidelines include an outright ban on certain sports during the time periods to which the IHSA By-laws limit those sports. These amendments to the IHSA By-laws were not enacted through the legislative process the IHSA Constitution requires.”

IHSA’s executive director, Craig Anderson, has said he’s in favor or restarting sports under new safety guidelines.

“The IHSA has and continues to believe that we can safely conduct high school sports in Illinois, including sports deemed medium- and high-risk by the Illinois Department of Public Health, throughout the 2020-21 school year,” Anderson said. “We have provided our member schools with a contingency plan that allows for participation by all sports in modified seasons, while continuing to lobby IDPH and state leadership for expanded participation opportunities. We will refrain from further comment until we have the opportunity to review the lawsuit with our legal counsel.”

The parents involved in the lawsuit are Dave Ruggles, Chris Warden and Kelly Ridges. Coaches and parents have joined in protests in an effort to pressure IHSA to reopen sports.

Illinois governor J.B. Pritzker released guidelines around youth, high school and adult sports back in July. Currently, football is allowed non-contact practices.

“These are incredibly important moments in the lives of our children,” Pritzker said. “When the multibillion-dollar sports leagues with multimillion-dollar athletes are struggling to protect their players, it is obvious there won’t be enough protection for kids on our school’s playing fields.”

Under Pritzker’s guidelines only cross-country, golf, tennis and swimming are taking place.

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