By Bob Balgemann


The COVID-19 pandemic at this point has made boys and girls basketball another of its victims. Their 2020-21 season has been postponed, with no date having been set for it to resume.

But not all is lost as the balance of the winter teams, boys and girls bowling, boys swimming and diving, competitive cheerleading and competitive dance will be allowed to compete.

And wrestling has been moved to the summer season.

Here’s part of the related news release issued earlier this month by principals and athletic directors in the NIC-10, which is Harlem’s conference:

“While we know many families and athletes were hoping the conference would allow the basketball season to continue with the IHSA (Illinois High School Association) support, the IHSA has no governing authority over Illinois school districts. So the wisest choice for us is to follow the direction of the governing bodies and the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH).

“Each individual (school) district has been advised by their insurance carrier not to participate in the IHSA proposed basketball season, and follow the governor, IDPH and Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) directives. A failure to do so would result in a lack of insurance coverage for the season, thus placing the districts in a position of liability for violating IDPH’s mitigation standard.

“We (NIC-10) will continue to prioritize the health and safety of our students and coaches, as we conduct the other winter sports in the guidelines set forth by the IDPH and ISBE.” 

IHSA meeting 

The IHSA on its website describes itself as a non-profit organization that “regulates competition in most interscholastic sports and some interscholastic activities at the high school level.”

Its board of directors will hold its regular monthly meeting today (Nov. 19) and has formally invited representatives of Gov. Pritzker’s office and the IDPH to attend. It also is seeking representatives from the Illinois Principals Association, Illinois Association of School Administrators, the ISBE and a coalition of nearly 200 school superintendents.

“The board hopes to create a dialogue and build a more collaborative relationship with all the entities involved with developing sports policy in our state, as everyone tries to natigate the myriad issues caused by the pandemic,” said IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson in a statement.

“The board’s decision to move ahead with the IHSA basketball season was not meant to be adversarial,” he continued. “It was rooted in the desire to receive more direct communication and data from our state partners. They hope all the groups will see the mutual benefit of increased discourse and be represented at the meeting on Nov. 19.”

In a news release issued Nov. 11, the board revealed that among the 546 schools who responded to its survey (IHSA has 813 member schools), nearly 300 schools did not plan to start basketball Nov. 16, with another 212 unsure of their status.

The board also announced that schools deciding to begin basketball practice on Nov. 16 should adhere to the Level 1 mitigations from the IDPH All Sports Policy, until at least Nov. 19.

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