By Kyle Daubs
Keep on waiting.
It may seem cliche, but it’s all we can do.
Everyone wants answers right now, but the unfortunate truth is that we just don’t have any right now. That’s the worst part as we feel like the state and the IHSA are just stringing us along.
On Tuesday, a late night report was out that the Apollo Conference was going to delay the basketball season. However, nothing has been confirmed by the conference leaders, while some schools such as Mahomet-Seymour and Mattoon are on record for saying they will follow the guidelines sent out by the Illinois Department of Public Health and Governor J.B. Pritzker.
On Wednesday, a special board meeting by the IHSA was concluded with the release that the IHSA invited representatives from Governor Pritzker’s office and the IDPH.
In a statement, IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson said:
“The board hopes to create a dialogue and build a more collaborative relationship with all the entities involved with developing sports policy in our state as everyone tries to navigate the myriad issues caused by the pandemic. The board’s decision to move forward with the IHSA basketball season was not meant to be adversarial. It was rooted in a desire to receive more direct communication and data from our state partners. They hope all the groups will see the mutual benefit of increased discourse and be represented at the meeting on Nov. 19.”
The problem is that the IHSA’s decision to allow individual school districts to choose whether to play is unfair. You could be sitting at home reading this, and shaking your head because you want a basketball season, but there is too much at stake for some of these schools.
The Peoria Diocese pulled the plug on its area schools because of health concerns. In that region, Alleman High School, Bloomington Central Catholic, Peoria Notre Dame, Ottawa Marquette, Danville Schlarman, Peru St. Bede, and Champaign St. Thomas More are out.
Earlier this week, the Peoria Public Schools Board of Education voted 5-1 to suspend all basketball activity, which includes Peoria High, Peoria Richwoods and Peoria Manual. All three schools are known for their basketball talent, but the idea of being held liable for COVID-related cases was too much of a financial risk.
Earlier this week, Urbana voted against playing, which means that nearly half of the Apollo Conference and Big 12 Conference could be out.
As a teacher at Peoria High, I understand these decisions. If I were a principal and my name could be a target of a large lawsuit, I would have to think of my family, too.
That’s why the decision by the IHSA is so frustrating: it gave coaches, fans and players a false hope. We were all horses with a carrot tied at the end of the rope, and this meeting next Thursday likely won’t change anything.
On Thursday, Pritzker warned that Illinois could face a mandatory stay-at-home order if coronavirus numbers fail to improve. Currently, the positivity rate is over 12%.
With his latest announcement and higher positivity rates, what is this meeting going to accomplish?
The IHSA and nearly 800 schools want basketball.
Pritzker wants the public to be safe and staying home is his advice.
What is the compromise here?
When it comes to life or death and your name is attached, it’s an impossible answer. Luckily, I do not have to be the person who decides.