Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker, speaking at a press conference May 31 in Springfield. (source: Governor’s website)

By Kyle Daubs

It’s not looking promising for fall sports in Illinois.

On Monday, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said he is “deeply concerned” about the Illinois High School Association conducting sports activities this fall. The statement came during a Q&A session at the Rock Island County Public Health Department and was broadcast by WRMJ in Aledo.

The governor stated that the IHSA “has said they’re basically going to get out of the business in the fall. That’s what it appears they are saying.”

Last week, the IHSA Board of Directors were scheduled to hold a meeting to determine the future of fall sports. That meeting was pushed to tomorrow, July 29. When the meeting was pushed back, IHSA executive director Craig Anderson said the board would meet with officials from the Illinois Department of Public Health and the Illinois State Board of Education.

“We are hoping for the best,” said Mattoon High School Athletic Director David Vieth. “We hope to hear something by the end of the week.”

The IHSA’s decision on Wednesday will determine the fate of fall sports. The board will determine on whether to conduct or postpone fall sports.

The positive test rates for COVID-19 tests increased to 3.8 percent during the weekend, a percentage point higher than it was at the beginning of July, according to the Capitol News Network. That’s the highest rolling positivity rate since a 4.2 rate was recorded on June 11.

Pritzker noted that there is evidence in other countries of outbreaks after school sports opened up. Pritzker stated her understands the situation that parents, athletes, and coaches are facing this autumn.

First day of practice is set for Aug. 10. For now, Mattoon, Charleston, and the rest of the state awaits the decision.

“Charleston High School is very much in favor of giving our students the most opportunities possible, as safely as possible,” said Charleston High School Athletic Director Derek Zerrusen. “We are very disappointed in any opportunity that has been taken away because of the pandemic. I expect that within a few days of the IHSA Wednesday Board Meeting we will have a plan from the IHSA about what can happen. That plan will, hopefully, fall in line with what can happen in and at schools under the guidance from ISBE. We are optimistic that we will be able to have sports at some point in time this year, and we will, hopefully, know what that looks like soon from the IHSA.”