The Illinois High School Association (IHSA) Board of Directors met for their April meeting via a video conference call on Tuesday, April 21, where the Board of Directors announced its decision to cancel all IHSA spring state tournaments. The decision to cancel the spring state tournaments comes in conjunction with Friday’s (April 17) announcement by Governor Pritzker and the Illinois State Board of Education that all Illinois high schools will complete the 2019-20 school term from home via e-learning.
“We support the decision by Governor Pritzker and the Illinois State Board of Education, and given the logistics, we simply felt we could not conduct state tournaments that meet the expectations of our member schools this spring, ” said IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson. “As disappointing as it may be for students, it is the right decision for their health and safety, as well as for the health and safety of the general public, as we cope with this unprecedented pandemic.”
The IHSA offers state tournaments in the following sports and activities in the spring: Girls Badminton, Boys Gymnastics, Bass Fishing, Boys & Girls Track & Field, Boys & Girls Water Polo, Girls Soccer, Boys Tennis, Boys & Girls Lacrosse, Boys Volleyball, Baseball, and Softball.
The Board also determined that summer contact days are suspended for this year, unless state government and medical leaders indicate such gatherings are safe. At that time, the Board indicated a willingness to reconsider how summer contact might be conducted and whether opportunities for schools to conduct some kind of spring athletic events might occur.
“Once it is determined safe to return, we will provide a detailed outline to our schools on the plan for summer contact days and possibly some kind of spring athletic events,” said Anderson. “Including if the number of days and dates that coaches can meet with athletes has been altered. At this point, though, all that is dependent upon state government and medical leaders giving the go ahead for such.”
“Our thoughts right now are with all the impacted students, coaches and communities. Especially the seniors,” said Anderson. “It will be difficult for them to find a silver lining in all of this, but we stress that even if they don’t get the chance to compete again at the high school level, they are better for having been a part of their respective high school teams. By participating in high school sports and activities, they were exposed to life lessons in teamwork, leadership, and overcoming adversity that are difficult to replicate elsewhere. The latter is applicable now more than ever. We hope that we can band together and refocus all our efforts on supporting the doctors, nurses, first responders, and all the other essential personnel who are putting their health and safety on the line each day to keep us safe.”
The IHSA will continue to communicate with and monitor briefings from state officials, and based on those timelines, provide updates to its member schools as it relates to potential spring participation and summer contact days.
“The possibility of playing a spring sport game this summer is about closure,” said Anderson. “If we are able to offer this opportunity, no student-athlete would be restricted by having already practiced or competed with a non-school team.”
1. The Board approved a recommendation to award the IHSA Music Sweepstakes Awards based on the results of IHSA Solo & Ensemble State Contest. State music results are usually determined based on the combined standings of the IHSA Solo & Ensemble State Finals, and the IHSA Music Organization State Finals, but the Music Organization State Contest was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For final results, click here.
2. The Board approved a recommendation to extend the IHSA Boys Golf State Final hosting contract with the Bloomington-Normal Area Convention and Visitors Bureau/Sports Commission, Illinois State University and Bloomington Parks & Recreation through 2024. The five-year contract will continue to have the state tournaments hosted by Prairie Vista Golf Course and The Den at Fox Creek Golf Course in Bloomington, as well as Weibring Golf Club at Illinois State University in Normal.
3. The Board approved a recommendation to extend the IHSA Girls Golf State Final hosting contract with the Decatur Park District. The five-year contract will continue to have the state tournaments hosted by Red Tail Run Golf Course and Hickory Point Golf Club in Decatur.
IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson:
“We are appreciative of the Bloomington-Normal Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, Bloomington Parks & Recreation, Illinois State University, and the Decatur Park District’s efforts to continue hosting the IHSA Golf State Final Tournaments. Golf in Illinois in late October can be a tricky proposition, but all of the courses are always in excellent condition, and the staffs at each course work tirelessly to accommodate our student-athletes, coaches, and fans. More so, the communities are incredible about hosting the state qualifiers. The tournaments continue to thrive in each location, so we are excited to be back for five more years.”
4. The Board approved a recommendation to extend the IHSA Cheerleading State Final hosting contract with the Bloomington-Normal Area Convention and Visitors Bureau/Sports Commission, and VenuWorks of Bloomington for one year at Grossinger Motors Area.
IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson:
“Grossinger Motors is a perfect fit for IHSA State Cheerleading, and has been an incredible host since 2007. This one-year contract simply allows us to put the IHSA State Dance and Cheerleading on the same contract rotation, which will be helpful given that both state finals have been conducted at the same venue since Dance began in 2013.”
5. The Board approved a recommendation to appoint to the following voting tellers for the 2020-21 school term:
Nominations: Tony Bauman, Bloomington High School
Elections: Nicolas Kearfott, Normal Community
Proposals: Wes Temples, Normal Community West
6. The Board approved a recommendation to postpone the 2020 Dr. Marty Hickman IHSA Foundation Golf Outing. The outing was scheduled for Tuesday, June 16, 2020.
At each meeting of the Board of Directors, there are certain items the Board discusses, but upon which no action is taken. The following is a report of those items from the April 21, 2020, agenda:
1. The Board discussed the results of a survey to IHSA member school Official Representatives gauging their interest in participation in spring sports.
2. The Board heard a report on the members of the 2020 IHSA All-State Academic Team presented by Caterpillar. The All-State Academic Team banquet scheduled for April 20 was canceled, but a video version was produced and sent to honorees.