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Contact days return as IHSA eyes February as a 'realistic timeline' for sports to resume

IHSA Logo (Photo provided)

(WCCU/WICS/WRSP) - The Illinois High School Association Board of Directors met on Wednesday, once again delaying an official announcement on a timeline for the start of sports seasons across the state of Illinois.

The IHSA did announce that contact days will be able to resume where allowable, per IDPH guidelines. The return to practice a means to ease mental, emotional, and physical strain on student-athletes who have gone a full year without playing the sports they love.

“It is our intention that these contact days provide sport-specific training under the leadership of high school coaches," said IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson. "This is an effort to provide a viable sports option to high school athletes given the growing number of student-athletes opting for higher risk opportunities within the state and across state lines."

Pending approval from state leadership, low-risk sports of boys and girls bowling, cheerleading, dance, girls gymnastics, and boys swimming & diving could begin as early as January 15 in certain parts of the state.

"We have hope that low-risk sports may be permitted in certain regions of the state as early as this Friday," said IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson. "With that in mind, February seems like a realistic timeline to have sports resume statewide.

While the status of the full array of sports is still on hold, the IHSA scheduling another Board of Directors meeting for January 27, hoping to have more answers and dates in place for medium and high-risk sports. With the goal still remaining to conduct all IHSA sports during the school year.

"We expect that the events of the next two weeks will go a long way toward informing our opinion on which scheduling option we decide to proceed with," Anderson said. "We recognize that if no sports have resumed by February, season lengths could be impacted in certain sports, and that we may need to take a longer look at the likelihood of true seasons being conducted in high-risk sports this year."