Illinois Governor stands firm on not playing high school football until the Spring

Illinois high school association
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With high school football coaches around the State of Illinois organizing rallies in Chicago and Springfield on Saturday aimed at trying to restart Fall sports, including high school football, Governor J.B. Pritzker isn’t considering any changes in his stance.

At a Tuesday news conference, Pritzker said, “I’m not willing to sacrifice people’s lives or their health. Neither the children nor their parents who would be affected also. We are being careful about it but I’m relying on doctors and researchers to give us the information. This isn’t a political decision. I know that there are people who would like me simply to make a political decision to allow people to endanger themselves.”

Pritzker’s statement comes on the heals of Friday’s announcement by the Illinois High School Association asking the governor for “permission for the IHSA and its Sports Medicine Advisory Committee to resume control over determining the resumption of IHSA sports and activities.”

Below is the full announcement from the IHSA on September 11:

On September 11, 2020, IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson issued the following statment to help clear the air regarding the content of a letter he issued to Governor Prtizker and Deputy Governor Ruiz:

“With support from the IHSA Board of Directors, I issued a letter on September 10 to Governor Pritzker and Deputy Governor Ruiz, that seeks permission for the IHSA and its Sports Medicine Advisory Committee to resume control over determining the resumption of IHSA sports and activities. However, the content of that letter has been greatly misconstrued on social media in a short amount of time.  There have been no discussions, let alone proposed timelines, for resuming any sports at this time.  Should our office receive a positive response from government officials, it could result in the IHSA reexamining its previously released season schedules, as well as postseason schedules, for the 2020-21 school year.

It is important to note that, under the leadership of Governor Pritzker, Illinois has attained one of the lowest COVID-19 infection rates in the country.  Additionally, several surrounding states have successfully conducted sports categorized as medium and high risk here in Illinois, and we believe sports and activities are safest when conducted under the IHSA safety protocols by school personnel. Those combined factors led us to issue this letter, and we will respectfully await response to it.

The IHSA is not involved in any planned protests this weekend related to high school sports. If protests occur, we encourage all attendees to be safe, smart and respectful.”

From IHSA.org

 At the end of July, the IHSA moved high school football to the Spring sports season due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Read: IHSA moves high school football to 2021

Currently, every state that borders Illinois — Kentucky, Indiana, Iowa, Missouri and Wisconsin — is allowing football to be played in the Fall. Last week, nearby Michigan reversed its decision to play high school football Spring. The Michigan high school football regular season will now begin later this month.

Read: Michigan brings high school football back to 2020

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About the Author

Jeff Fisher
Jeff is an award-winning journalist and expert in the field of high school sports, underscored with his appearance on CNBC in 2010 to talk about the big business of high school football in America. Jeff turned to his passion for high school football into an entrepreneurial venture called High School Football America, a digital media company focused on producing original high school sports content for radio, television and the internet. Jeff is co-founder and editor-in-chief of High School Football America, which is a media partner with USA TODAY High School Sports.