Illinois Governor JB Pritzker made his final decision on Illinois schools Friday when he announced that schools will remain closed for the remainder of the school year.
However, the final decision on the fate of spring sports has yet to be announced.
Immediately following Gov. Pritzker’s Friday press conference the Illinois High School Association released a statement as to what the next step for determining the spring sports season will be.
“The Illinois High School Association (IHSA) Board of Directors is scheduled to meet via video conference on Tuesday, April 21, 2020.
“At that meeting, the Board will make a final determination on the IHSA’s spring sport state tournaments based on the Governor’s announcement on April 17 that Illinois high schools will not return to in-person learning this school year.”
“As we previously indicated, the cessation of in-person learning will make it difficult for the IHSA to conduct spring state tournaments this year. More information will be provided following Tuesday’s Board meeting.”
While there is a possibility the IHSA chooses to extend the spring sports season into the summer months, it remains a very real possibility that there will be no spring sports season at all. Back on April 1, the IHSA said there had been discussions for the Board of Directors were highly supportive of creating an exemption to the IHSA Season Limitation By-law to allow spring sports to play into June, but competing into July at the time was not being considered. Whether the Board of Directors is willing to put that on the table with the most recent announcement remains to be seen.
For a team like the Teutopolis Wooden Shoes baseball team, that would mean that the athletes that were juniors on last season’s state championship winning squad won’t have the opportunity to defend their state title.
“It’s very disheartening,” said Teutopolis baseball coach Justin Fleener. “But this is out of our control and is not a reflection of [the team’s] preparation or hard work. We’re not very happy, but there are worse things going on out there.”
The Altamont Indians baseball club is in a similar position; not being able to build off of a strong fall campaign in which they took home the National Conference Tournament title.
“I’m disappointed for the kids to lose a year of spring baseball,” said Altamont head coach Alan Whitt. “We had goals set, so for them to not even get an attempt to go after those goals is heartbreaking.”
The IHSA will likely make its next announcement following the Board of Directors meeting Tuesday on the official decision on the fate of spring sports.