MHS’s Kylie Kaacke

By Kyle Daubs

By now, most of the dust has settled. 

The Illinois High School Association Board of Directors met for a special meeting Wednesday afternoon. The IHSA announced its intentions for the 2020-2021 season. 

By now, most know that football, volleyball, and boys soccer has been moved to the winter/spring, while traditional spring sports will be considered summer sports and have a six-week season. 

However, boys and girls cross country, girls tennis, boys and girls golf, and girls swimming will resume as scheduled and remain a fall sport. 

“Although the season is being shortened and we probably will only be allowed small meets, it’s still relieving to hear,” said MHS cross country runner Kylie Haacke. “I’m just hoping that nothing happens between now and the start of the season that would cause the IHSA to change their minds.”

Practices will start Aug. 10 as scheduled. Fall sports will begin with competition limited to conference opponents and other schools in the same general geographical area. 

As of now, these are the time frames for area sports this season.  You can also find the complete list here.

  • Fall:    Aug, 10 to Oct, 24
    • Boys and girls cross country, boys and girls golf, girls swimming, girls tennis
  • Winter:   Nov, 16 to Feb. 13
    • Boys and girls basketball, boys swimming, wrestling
  • Spring:: Feb. 15 to May 1
    • Volleyball, football, boys soccer
  • Summer: May 3 to June 26
    • Baseball, softball, track and field, boys tennis, girls soccer

“I think it is great for the student-athletes,” said MHS golf coach Bill Behrends. “I am glad that it wasn’t an all or nothing decision and that they did their best to give every sport a fair chance to play, while also mitigating risk.”

However, modifying the original spring sports to a condensed schedule is something that worries some coaches. Club softball has one coach wondering how this summer could play out with travel teams. 

“Good for the kids, but it could potentially be a mess where girls might choose to (play) travel over high school,” said CMS/CHS softball coach Blain Mayhall. “Hopefully, that’s not the case, but there is some work on that front. You are not allowed to play both with the rules as they are now. The IHSA might need to look at some verbiage for this year.”

According to the IHSA, The Board also extended the current Phase 4 Return To Play Guidelines, which will allow sports slated to be played in the winter, spring, and summer seasons to allow an additional 20 days of contact for teams between Sept. 7-Oct. 31 following IDPH Phases 4 Guidelines.

The IESA, which announced it would cancel fall sports earlier this week, appears to be re-considering its decision. They posted the following statement on its website: “Today’s announcement by Governor Pritzker concerning youth sports and categorizing those sports into risk levels was the type of guidance we had hoped to receive prior to our announcement about IESA fall activities last week. Unfortunately, the guidelines were just released today and it certainly sheds a different light on several sports. In addition, the IHSA will be making an announcement about their plans for the 2020-21 school year. We (IESA) are reviewing all of this information.”

Mattoon Middle cross country coach Sonja Wattles says that several smaller schools are planning to have their own seasons without the IESA. That could change, if the IESA now allows fall sports to take place.

Said Wattles. “At this point, I just need to wait and see what our superintendent will allow us to do. Some kind of season is better than no season.”