SPRINGFIELD - The Illinois High School Association announced considerable changes to the upcoming fall sports season on Wednesday afternoon, the most notable being that boys football, both boys soccer, and girls volleyball will be moved from fall to spring because of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Boys and girls cross country, boys and girls tennis, boys and girls golf, and girls swimming and diving are all set to take place in the fall. Boys and girls basketball, boys and girls bowling, wrestling, cheerleading, dance, and girls gymnastics are slated for the winter.

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There will be four shortened seasons in the school year with significant changes.

  1. The fall season will run August 10, 2020, to October 24, 2020.
  2. The winter season will run November 16, 2020, to February 13, 2020.
  3. The spring season will run February 15, 2021, to May 1, 2021.
  4. The summer season will run May 3, 2021, to June 26, 2021.

"This plan, like nearly every aspect of our current lives, remains fluid, " said IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson. Changes may come, and if they do, we will be agile while putting safety and students first. It was important that we provide a framework today for our student-athletes, coaches, administrators, and officials to begin preparing for the 2020-2021 school year."

"The Board believes this plan offers the most realistic chance for student-athletes to participate in interscholastic sports while balancing the challenges of a new academic setting and IDPH Guidelines said Erie High School Principal and IHSA Board President Tim McConnell. "We are an education-based athletic association, and school has to come first. By delaying the majority of the team sports in the fall, it will allow our schools and students the chance to acclimate to what will be, for many, a totally new educational experience. We will do our best to try to give every student-athlete the opportunity for a season this school year."

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State Series tournament decisions will be made on a sport-by-sport basis as each season progresses, but providing postseason opportunities remains a priority of the board. This could potentially include culminating state series tournaments after regional or sectional rounds or seeking other traditional means to conduct events."

"Our staff and Board have heard from thousands of people over the past few weeks with ideas, opinions, and proposals on how we should proceed," Anderson said. "We respect and understand their passion because we share it. It is a great reminder if we want high school sports to return to normal, we all need to do our part to help stop the spread of COVID-19."

Requirements for groups of 50 or less will be required with minimum distances. Spectator and group gatherings will also be subject to IDPH guidelines during this time with less than 50 participants, social distancing, etc.

Baseball, softball, boys and girls track, girls soccer, boys volleyball, boys tennis, will move from spring to summer with seasons running May 3, 2021, to June 26, 2021.

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If you have a news, human interest or sports idea, e-mail [email protected] or call or text 618-623-5930. Follow Dan Brannan on Facebook and on Twitter.

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