BLOOMINGTON – The Illinois Elementary School Association Board of Directors once again held a special meeting to discuss the status of fall sports and all IESA activities for the 2020-21 school year. The meeting was convened as a result of the announcement by Governor Pritzker on July 29 regarding youth sports.
During its meeting on July 23, the IESA Board made the decision to cancel the fall activities of golf, softball, baseball, and cross-country. That decision was based on the information the Association had at the time of the meeting. The All Sports Guidance document that was recently released from the Governor's Office placed the sports of golf, softball, baseball, and cross-country in the "lower risk" category. Sports in that category can hold practices and interscholastic games. As a result of these four sports being recategorized to lower risk and with interscholastic competitions being allowed, the IESA Board for Directors has approved a plan for the return of regular season contests in these activities and a limited state series.
Softball, baseball, and cross-country teams were allowed to begin their practices on Aug. 3 and they may conduct their first game or contest on Aug. 15. Please note that competitions may not be held before Aug. 15. This means that contests previously scheduled to start before Aug. 15 will need to be cancelled. This start date is mandated by the Governor's Office. A copy of that document is available at this link: https://coronavirus.illinois.gov/sfc/servlet.shepherd/document/download/069t000000CyCndAAF?operationContext=S1
A regional only level of the state series for softball and baseball will be held the week of Sept. 21 and a sectional only level for cross-country will be held sometime between Oct. 10-17. A sectional only level for golf will be held on Sept. 9.
Additionally, the Board approved a plan for modified seasons in all remaining IESA sports and activities. The purpose of the plan is to provide schools, administrators, coaches, parents, and officials with a general framework for their sports and activity programs in the 2020-21 school year. It is a very fluid plan and circumstances/guidelines/mandates may change any part of the plan at any time. The plan is available at this link: https://www.iesa.org/temp/IESAAlternativePlan.pdf
Statement from IESA executive director Steve Endsley: “I speak for the Board when I say they do not like to reverse decisions. In this case, the Board believed the information that became available after their initial decision on July 23 warranted a review of that decision. Ultimately, the Board approved the resumption of a regular season in the sports deemed lower risk and a plan for the remainder of the school year. It is important to remember that the 2020-21 school year is not going to be the same as previous years. We are hopeful that the remainder of the sports and activities will be held. Currently, the majority of those activities have been deemed as medium or high risk. The Board felt that the plan they approved provides direction and a blueprint should we be able to move forward. This is the world in which we live today where things change daily. If we want our student-athletes to have the benefits that the privilege of participating in education-based activities provide, everyone has to be accountable for following all mandates and requirements.”