The Illinois High School Association (IHSA) Board of Directors met for its regularly scheduled meeting, which included both virtual and in-person attendance, on Monday, March 8, 2021, where the Board took action on three items.
1. The Board approved a recommendation to approve guidance for IHSA sports that include Baseball, Boys Gymnastics, Boys Tennis, Football, Boys & Girls Lacrosse, Boys & Girls Soccer, Softball, Boys & Girls Track & Field, Boys & Girls Volleyball, and Boys & Girls Water Polo. The sport-by-sport mitigation guidelines follow all IDPH All-Sports Policy Guidelines and will be posted online and shared with coaches and school personnel later this week.
IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson:
“We are eager to inform our coaches of the mitigation guidance so they can better prepare for their upcoming seasons and we plan to get detailed information out to them soon. However, this decision came with some trepidation from the IHSA Board of Directors. There are several instances where the current IDPH mitigations give us pause. The Board wants to move forward for the overall good of IHSA student-athletes, however, they ask that we remain diligent in our staff efforts to have IDPH reconsider certain mitigation guidelines. The IHSA has been a national leader in risk mitigation throughout our 100-plus year history and have adapted our scope to include safety against COVID-19. It is imperative that the expertise from our Sports Medicine Advisory Committee and staff must be heeded.”
2. The Board approved a recommendation to approve dates and parameters for an IHSA State Series in traditional spring sports that include Badminton, Baseball, Softball, Bass Fishing, Boy Gymnastics, Boys Tennis, Boys Volleyball, Girls Soccer, Journalism, Boys & Girls Lacrosse, Boys & Girls Track & Field, and Boys & Girls Water Polo. All tournaments are currently expected to conduct all rounds of competition, including a State Final. Boys Volleyball and Boys & Girls Lacrosse cannot conduct State Finals under current IDPH mitigations, however, the Board approved plans to host State Finals in both sports in hopes that mitigation changes will allow for it by that time. State Final qualifiers in some individual sports may be modified to better meet gathering mitigations. The State Series guidelines will be posted online and shared with coaches and school personnel later this week.
3. The Board approved a recommendation to form a partnership with Teall Properties Group (TPG) to aid in securing corporate partnerships for the Association.
APPEALS & ELIGIBILITY RULINGS
1. The Board overturned the Executive Director’s ruling on a student from Aledo (Mercer County). The student was initially ruled ineligible for non-compliance with IHSA By-laws 3.030 and 3.040 and is now eligible immediately.
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 March 8, 2021, agenda:
1. The Board heard a report from the Executive Director on a March 8 update from the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) to its All-Sports Policy. IHSA schools located in Regions that are in Phase 4 can increase spectators from 50 persons to 20% venue capacity in outdoor sports. This increase in spectator attendance is applicable for outdoor sports only.
IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson:
“We have been adamant in our discussions with IDPH that we believe we can safely and responsibly expand spectator guidelines without risking the general public to greater exposure to COVID-19 . This felt like a commonsense change, especially as we evaluated collegiate and pro sport spectator guidelines in the state, and are happy for the student-athletes who will be participating in IHSA outdoor sports this spring and summer, as well as for their families and friends.”
2. The Board heard a report from the Executive Director on the first meeting of the IHSA Financial Ad Hoc Committee, which is charged with planning the IHSA’s financial plan for the future as the Association recovers from the economic impact of the pandemic.
3. The Board discussed the timeline for the 2021-22 membership renewal notice. The IHSA Financial Ad Hoc Committee will meet again on March 11 and will recommend a membership fee plan for the 2021-22 school year for the Board to review and vote on at its April meeting.
4. The Board heard discussed a request from Aurora (Christian) related to the multiplier, but took no action.
5. The IHSA Executive Director informed the Board that Champaign (Academy High School) has met all membership qualifications and is now an IHSA member school.