By Joseph Phillips
With the rise of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Illinois High School Association (IHSA) announced on Thursday March 12, that all remaining winter State Series postseason tournaments, which include Boys Basketball, Scholastic Bowl, Drama & Group Interpretation, Music Organization, Debate and Journalism, has been canceled due to concerns of the spread of the coronavirus.
“We appreciate the patience and understanding that we have received from everyone involved in this process over the past 72 hours,” said Craig Anderson, executive director of the IHSA. “We have stressed the fluidity of this situation and have been transparent about the possibility that a suspension or cancellation could occur. While we had support from the Illinois Department of Public Health and the Peoria City/County Health Department to continue our events with limited spectators, it has become untenable to continue the events among our member schools. Multiple schools who are participating or hosting these sports and activities have been forced to withdraw from those roles, clarifying the need for the IHSA to take definitive action. The Board considered suspending the events, but after deliberate discussion, did not believe that was a realistic option within the timeline. We feel for everyone who has been impacted, but must put the health and safety of all involved ahead of these events.”
According to a press release by the IHSA administration, Anderson said it was too early to make any decisions regarding IHSA spring state final tournaments. Anderson also said he respect’s the NCAA’s decision to cancel its spring championships, but also recognizes that the exposure and travel by the organizations high school teams is not as expansive as collegiate teams.
“At this juncture, we recommend that all IHSA spring sport teams consult their local health departments,” said Anderson, via press release. “And follow their recommendations on if and how to proceed with practices and regular-season contests.”
Anderson added, “I also want to commend the coaches and administrators from the Class 1A and Class 2A state finalists who traveled to Peoria today. While obviously disappointed, they conducted themselves with the utmost class as we charted this unprecedented situation together.”
As of Crusader press time, the IHSA has not made any decisions related to spring sport tournaments at this time.
(IHSA Twitter photo).