The Illinois High School Association (IHSA) Board of Directors met for a special meeting on July 29, 2020, where the Board announced its intended plans for the 2020-21 school year. The plan has been sent to the Illinois Department of Health (IDPH) for final approval.
IHSA boys and girls golf, girls tennis, cross country and girls swimming & diving will remain as fall sports, and can proceed to start on August 10 as scheduled. Per Governor Pritzker’s announcement on Wednesday, fall sports will begin with competition limited to conference opponents and other schools in the same general geographical area. Schools will be provided more details in the coming week about the scheduling limits, and scheduling will continue to be assessed throughout each season. The condensed 2020-21 season dates will be as follows (see chart below to see where each sport falls):
Fall: August 10 to October 24
Winter: November 16 to February 13
Spring: February 15 to May 1
Summer: May 3 to June 26
“The Board believes this plan offers the most realistic chance for student-athletes to participate in interscholastic sports while balancing the challenges of a new academic setting and IDPH Guidelines,” said Erie High School Principal and IHSA Board President Tim McConnell. “We are an education-based athletic association, and school has to come first. By delaying the majority of the team sports in the fall, it will allow our schools and students the chance to acclimate to what will be, for many, a totally new educational experience. We will do our best to try to give every student-athlete the opportunity for a season this school year.”
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.
The Board also extended the current Phase 4 Return To Play Guidelines, which will allow sports slated to be played in the winter, spring and summer seasons to allow an additional 20 days of contact for schools between September 7 and October 31 following IDPH Phase 4 Guidelines.
The Board also verified that IHSA by-laws do not prevent schools who are conducting remote learning from participating in IHSA sports and activities. Participation will remain a local school and district decision, regardless of the learning plan a high school is utilizing.
The Board discussed IHSA activities for the 2020-21 school year but did not take any action. The IHSA’s activity offerings include Bass Fishing, Chess, Debate, Drama & Group Interpretation, Individual Events, Journalism, Music & Scholastic Bowl.
“We believe we can still offer many of our activities via virtual contests,” said Anderson. “The Board has asked our staff to investigate those possibilities, and we will report back soon on if and how each can be held.”
|Sport/Activity||IDPH Risk||Traditional Season||2020-21 Season||Start Date||End Date|
|Boys/Girls Golf||Lower||Fall||Fall||August 10||Oct. 17|
|Girls Tennis||Lower||Fall||Fall||August 10||Oct. 17|
|Boys/Girls Cross Country||Medium||Fall||Fall||August 10||Oct. 17|
|Girls Swimming & Diving||Medium||Fall||Fall||August 10||Oct. 17|
|Boys & Girls Basketball||Medium||Winter||Winter||Nov. 16||Feb. 13|
|Wrestling||Higher||Winter||Winter||Nov. 16||Feb. 13|
|Boys Swimming & Diving||Medium||Winter||Winter||Nov. 16||Feb. 13|
|Cheerleading||Higher||Winter||Winter||Nov. 16||Feb. 13|
|Dance||Higher||Winter||Winter||Nov. 16||Feb. 13|
|Boys/Girls Bowling||Lower||Winter||Winter||Nov. 16||Feb. 13|
|Girls Gymnastics||Lower||Winter||Winter||Nov. 16||Feb. 13|
|Football||Higher||Fall||Spring||Feb. 15||May 1|
|Boys Soccer||Medium||Fall||Spring||Feb. 15||May 1|
|Girls Volleyball||Medium||Fall||Spring||Feb. 15||May 1|
|Girls Badminton||Lower||Spring||Spring||Feb. 15||May 1|
|Boys Gymnastics||Lower||Spring||Spring||Feb. 15||May 1|
|Boys/Girls Water Polo||Medium||Spring||Spring||Feb. 15||May 1|
|Baseball||Lower||Spring||Summer||May 3||June 26|
|Softball||Lower||Spring||Summer||May 3||June 26|
|Boys/Girls Track & Field||Lower||Spring||Summer||May 3||June 26|
|Girls Soccer||Medium||Spring||Summer||May 3||June 26|
|Boys Volleyball||Medium||Spring||Summer||May 3||June 26|
|Boys/Girls Lacrosse||Higher||Spring||Summer||May 3||June 26|
|Boys Tennis||Lower||Spring||Summer||May 3||June 26|