BLOOMINGTON — Although IHSA Government Director Craig Anderson is happy with how member colleges have dealt with his group’s “Return To Play” plan, he advised The Information-Gazette this week that fall sports activities state championships are nonetheless off the desk.
On Sept. 23, the IHSA Board of Administrators authorised the addition of sectional occasions to the golf and cross-country postseason lineups. These sports activities had been beforehand solely planning on having regional tournaments in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, whereas women’ tennis and women’ swimming and diving would solely maintain sectional meets. That call has led athletes and coaches to take a position on whether or not the IHSA would take into account permitting state tournaments to occur, in spite of everything.
“Our board’s choice once we modified and added the sectionals was that that may be the culminating expertise,” Anderson mentioned. “We wouldn’t transfer into state championships. There’s simply a lot of roadblocks at this level that makes it difficult, and our board had already determined they wouldn’t revisit including state championships.”
Boys’ and women’ golf regional tournaments happened this week, and that sport’s sectional tournaments will transpire subsequent week together with women’ tennis sectional meets. Cross-country regional meets and women’ swimming and diving sectional meets are slated for Oct. 24, and cross-country sectional meets can happen within the Oct. 29-31 timeframe.
An unsanctioned highschool state cross-country sequence, co-hosted by ShaZam Racing and MileSplit Illinois, is scheduled for Nov. 6-7 in Chillicothe. Not one of the different ongoing fall sports activities presently have an identical occasion on faucet.
Modifications had been made to golf and cross-country regional tournaments with the intention to restrict the variety of sectional qualifiers and higher adhere to Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s pandemic-related gathering limitations.
In golf regionals, the highest two groups and high 4 people not on these groups — down from three groups and 10 people, respectively — moved on to a sectional. In cross-country, the highest 5 groups from the regional — down from seven — will transfer ahead to a sectional, together with an unchanged high 5 people not on these groups.
No alterations exist for the women’ tennis or women’ swimming and diving sectional buildings, although the state’s indoor rule gathering of not more than 50 folks will make for different-looking swim and dive sectional meets than in years previous.
Anderson mentioned folks have reached out to the IHSA workplace asking why the group couldn’t oversee state sequence occasions in these fall sports activities.
“As a way to keep the gathering limits, we’d must be so restrictive with the qualifiers, with the gathering numbers, that it simply isn’t possible,” Anderson mentioned. “We made the choice early on, and we’ve form of launched any of our hosts from that chance. The journey and making an attempt to cut back or remove in a single day stays can be an unbelievable problem (as nicely).”
That mentioned, Anderson believes the style through which the IHSA’s revised fall season has proceeded — regardless of the postponement of soccer, volleyball and boys’ soccer to the spring in addition to the lack of state tournaments — might assist Pritzker and the Illinois Division of Public Well being really feel extra assured within the IHSA’s potential to run different athletic campaigns.
In July, the IHSA started deferring to Pritzker and the IDPH with regard to its “Return To Play” tips.
“Offering alternatives within the low-risk sports activities has went extremely nicely,” Anderson mentioned. “Whereas I’m certain there have been a couple of hiccups at completely different colleges, they’ve executed it efficiently. They’ve maintained a protected return, and so my hope is that it’s mirrored upon by these making the choices.
“To take the following step and supply a chance in a medium-risk sport like basketball, for example, is a logical subsequent step due to what we’ve executed and executed it safely.”
Criticism from varied events has shrouded a number of points of the IHSA’s method to pandemic-era fall athletics — particularly the postponement of some sports activities and the lack of state occasions in others. That’s been enhanced by surrounding Midwest states choosing extra conventional fall schedules whereas Illinois maintains a extra conservative course.
This doesn’t lead Anderson to consider member colleges, and people related to them, have misplaced religion within the IHSA.
“We’re ruled by our membership, and our board is made up of member college directors. For these causes, we’ll be in lockstep with our member colleges,” Anderson mentioned. “So I’m extremely assured with our board management and the standard those that we have now on this workplace.
“That collective drive of over 800 member colleges will simply reinforce our future route to maneuver past this pandemic and supply nice alternatives for the event of younger folks.”
Colin Likas is the preps coordinator at The Information-Gazette. He will be reached at [email protected], or on Twitter at @clikasNG.