IHSA releases remaining 2021 sports schedules as regions move into Tier 1 mitigations


Ariel Oh

The remaining sports seasons are scheduled to continue from Feb. through June.

On Jan. 27, 2021 the IHSA Board of Directors met in order to determine the fate of remaining sports seasons. A new schedule has been created given Ill. COVID-19 positivity rate stays low enough to follow Tier 1 Mitigations. A special conference was led by IHSA executive director Craig Anderson.

“Ultimately, the Board adhered to its stated goals throughout the pandemic: providing an opportunity for every IHSA student-athlete to compete safely this year and maximizing opportunities for traditional IHSA spring sports after they lost their entire season a year ago,” Anderson said.

It has been decided by the board that the only state competitions that will be considered are for traditional spring sports. This comes with the hope that by the time spring sports start more restrictions will be lifted. This does not include dance and cheerleading, whose sectional and state series will be held virtually.

“There are obviously no guarantees, as risk levels by sport and local region mitigation statuses will factor significantly. Postseason could mean being limited to a Regional or Sectional level of competition, but we have not ruled out the idea of playing a full state tournament in these traditional spring sports if possible,” Anderson said.

Senior dance captain Anna Phifer spoke on her reaction to having a virtual state competition for her final season of dance.

“I’m really excited that we are at least able to have a sectional and state competition virtually because it gives us something to work for. Even if it’s not like real competitions, I’m still getting to do what I love with my team and I look forward to seeing my teammates which is honestly all I could ask for. I’m really grateful for it,” Phifer said.

Another topic addressed by the board was whether or not girls and boys basketball would happen. It has been confirmed that depending on a school’s region status determines whether their basketball seasons can start or not. DGS starts ASAP.

“We need to maintain a positive trajectory not only to get winter sports going, but to make sure we do not have any regions regress before spring and summer sports have their opportunity… We don’t feel great about the notion of some schools falling behind based on their region’s status, but also recognize that we are running out of time and can’t afford to hold back the regions that can play,” Anderson said.

Senior Lily Ross shares her thoughts on the remaining basketball season.

“I just hope we can fun with the time we have left together as a team,” Ross said.

IHSA guidelines require all athletes to wear masks and all game personnel to wear masks and social distance. This excludes boys swim and dive, gymnasts doing skill events and outdoor events where people can social distance. Contact days are limited to three days per week per sport with a maximum of six hours of contact per week (excluding competitions).

The IHSA board of directors released a statement following the meeting:

“Unprecedented circumstances create extraordinary decisions. The IHSA Board of Directors faced one of the most difficult decisions in the Association’s 100-plus year history today–please know that we did so with great diligence, empathy, and understanding… There was never going to be a one-size fits all solution to playing 25 sports seasons in a little over four months. What did occur was collaboration and camaraderie.”