The Illinois High School Association announced last Wednesday that it has formally invited Governor J.B. Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Public Health to a special board meeting on Thursday. Yesterday during his COVID-19 press briefing, the Governor formally declined that invitation and doubled down on the delay of the basketball season until Spring: “You know I think that there has been a lot of interaction between IHSA and our staff as well as IDPH, so you know we’ll certainly make available our staff for consultation and so on. I think we’ve all been you know pretty clear about where we are with regard to winter sports.”
Mary Ann Ahern of NBC Chicago asked that basketball was a ‘ no go’ and the governor responded: “It is what we issued. It’s again we relied upon the best experts we could to come up with a plan for the winter, and by the way, since then COVID has gotten a lot worse.”
IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson said in a statement last week that he had hoped to create a dialog with the governor’s office and IDPH to developing high school sports policy through the pandemic. The invitation also came after only 8 of the nearly 800 IHSA’s member schools said they would participate in a winter basketball season. According to multiple sources, insurers were unwilling to cover schools that went against the IDPH and Illinois State Board of Education guidelines and played basketball this winter. IHSA also announced last week that practices for basketball would be delayed until after the special board meeting was held on Thursday.