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Poll: IHSA ADs Unsure of Basketball Status

Jason Scott

With the governor and the Illinois High School Association at an impasse, the fate of high school basketball in the Land of Lincoln remains uncertain, according to the DeKalb Daily Chronicle

Governor JB Pritzker last week moved basketball into a “high-risk” category for COVID-19 spread. However, a vote by the IHSA Board of Directors indicated that the basketball season would move forward as scheduled, with practices set to begin Nov. 16 and games on Nov. 30. Pritzker countered, postponing the season indefinitely. The IHSA, however, disagreed, setting up a situation where whether or not basketball is played on schedule is left in the hands of individual school districts.

The IHSA reportedly held a Zoom call with nearly 400 athletic directors from the Illinois Athletic Directors Association on Monday. Participants were polled on whether or not they would play basketball this winter. The results indicated that just 9 percent planned to play as scheduled, 29 percent would not, and a whopping 62 percent were unsure.

The issue of liability looms large in the discussions. The Daily Chronicle reports that officials are unsure whether insurance companies would cover schools that decide to play in spite of the governor. 

"Many schools are still doing their homework," Brent Grisham, the assistant principal for activities at Pleasant Plains High School wrote on Twitter. "Unsure doesn't mean no, and nobody can speak for insurance companies. But apparently some have made a stance. I wonder if Illinois is the only state where the two main governing bodies are in disagreement?"

"Everybody is in limbo," Plano AD Jim Schmidt told the Daily Chronicle. "The IHSA is saying one thing, the Illinois school board is saying another and people ask questions. Now are superintendents going to allow basketball to happen if ISBE won't agree to it? The question is, can we pose a waiver to allow parents to choose? Somebody still has to take on the liability. I don't know if a waiver can take away the liability. That's where we are at."

"As ADs we are tired of not being able to give answers," Schmidt said. "Parents want to know what is going on. I hate that everybody is in limbo and we can't answer questions. Everybody is looking into this at their local level. It would be nice if we could get a blanket statement."

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