By Christopher Johnson


The Illinois High School Association met this past Tuesday and approved a measure that would see baseball and softball, slated to be summer sports for Winnebago athletes, start a week earlier than previously decided.

A vote taken by IHSA Members on Tuesday, Dec. 15, supported earlier thinking that if conditions improve in the battle against COVID-19 and Governor JB Pritzker’s office softens mitigation, action will be allowed to commence.

An earlier ruling by Board Members determined that winter games, including boys and girls basketball and wrestling would not be held again in 2020 because of the amount of potential contact and spread.

“The introduction of the contact days will be based on mitigations from the Governor and the Illinois Department of Public Health at that time.”

It was determined that in a couple weeks, the idea of winter games could resurface in front of voting members. Opening the door to the possibility of some sort of winter sport allowance in January 2021, according to IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson.

“Further guidance on contact day limits will be established at a future Board Meeting.”

The board supported its earlier decision to remain committed to continue to create as much opportunity as possible for all sports that remain to be played this school year.

Anderson expressed his feeling that any decision to send any athlete from Winnebago or any school district across the State of Illinois to the court again will be a collaborative decision.

“We intend to evaluate the equity of each season as a potential resumption date in January begins to materialize.”

It has been noted that any decision made regarding the opportunity for an athlete to take part in winter, spring or summer games, will be up to the individual school district.

The Executive Director said staying rigid in keeping everyone safe is the right course of action. But assuring each student has a chance to pursue their activity is equally important. There has to be shared responsibility, he offered.

“The Board appreciates the flexibility displayed by our schools throughout the pandemic. We continue to ask school districts to be adaptable in the New Year.”

If basketball is allowed to return, a shortened season could be the most likely outcome, with regional and sectional round games wrapping up as football season gears up in the practice rounds.

Football, which was scheduled for fall 2020 display is now in the picture as the New Year approaches. It is on the calendar for spring.

Practice for the 2020-2021 season will be underway by late February with a game schedule put into action in early March.

Girls Volleyball will also get its chance to take to the court, if the fall sports schedule shifted to 2021 is allowed to be completed. Practices would begin in late February with matches in March and beyond.

The summer season will overlap the spring season, which includes football, which could present a few challenges for some student athletes.

Individual decisions may have to be made regarding where time on the field needs to be spent, especially if a playoff run is waiting for Winnebago athletes.

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