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IHSA moves football, girls volleyball and boys soccer to spring season; unveils modified schedule

The Illinois High School Association (Wednesday) announced it will play some fall sports this fall, but the rest will be moved to the spring of 2021. 

Football, girls volleyball and boys soccer, deemed medium or higher risk sports by Gov. J.B. Pritzker, will move to the spring in a revamped schedule that is a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The spring season will run from Feb. 15 to May 1.

Boys and girls golf, girls tennis, boys and girls cross country and girls swimming and diving will remain in the fall season, which will run from Aug. 10-Oct. 24. Sports that typically take place in winter seasons remain unchanged: Boys and girls basketball, wrestling, boys swimming and diving, cheerleading, dance, boys and girls bowling and women's gymnastics. The winter season runs from Nov. 16- Feb. 13.

In addition to football, girls volleyball and boys soccer, the spring season will still include girls badminton, boys gymnastics and boys and girls water polo. That season runs Feb. 15-May 1. The newly added summer season includes sports typically played in the spring: Baseball, softball, boys and girls track and field, girls soccer, boys volleyball, boys and girls lacrosse and boys tennis. That season runs May 3-June 26.

State Series tournament decisions will be made on a sport-by-sport basis as each season progresses, but providing postseason opportunities remains a priority of the Board. This could potentially include culminating State Series Tournaments after regional or sectional rounds, or seeking other non-traditional means to conduct events.

“This plan, like nearly every aspect of our current lives, remains fluid,” said IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson in a statement. “Changes may come, and if they do, we will be agile while putting safety and students first. It was important that we provide a framework today for our student-athletes, coaches, administrators, and officials to begin preparing for the 2020-21 school year.”

The COVID-19 pandemic led the Board to propose unprecedented scheduling changes for the 2020-21 school year. They include playing all sports over the course of truncated fall, winter, spring, and summer seasons. As a result, several team sports will shift to new seasons, including football, boys soccer, and girls volleyball moving from the fall to the spring.

“I applaud our Board of Directors for choosing a model that allows every student-athlete the opportunity for a modified season,” said Anderson. “Based on our recent conversations, it is our expectation that today’s plan meets all of IDPH’s safety guidelines and will be approved.”

94.1 WGFA