By Kyle Daubs

The IHSA basketball season kicked off Monday.

On Tuesday, Gov. JB Pritzker announced that Illinois will move to Tier 3 mitigations, just two days ahead of the IHSA’s board of directors meeting to possibly determine whether games will begin Nov. 30.

Apollo Conference members Mahomet-Seymour and Mattoon have already said they would follow state guidelines, meaning a season is unlikely.

“Who knows,” said Mattoon boys basketball coach Ryan Ghere. “ I hope they all meet as a group and come up with a plan that everyone can work with.  I just hope our seniors get to play this school year.”

Representatives from the governor’s office and the Illinois Department of Public Health won’t attend Thursday’s meeting, says IHSA executive director Craig Anderson said. The IHSA hopes to give schools guidance about the season.

Said Mount Zion boys basketball coach Dale Schuring: “I am not optimistic at all.”

Schools, coaches, and athletes want more clarity from Thursday’s meeting. 

“I have no idea how the meeting will go next week,” said Charleston boys coach Brad Oakley. “At this point, it is hard to guess. The IHSA, IDPH, and the governor’s office need to sit down and work this out for the student-athletes. I hope representatives from IDPH and the governor’s office attend the IHSA meeting (Thursday) and actually try to develop a schedule that allows the players to play.”

Taylorville boys basketball coach Ryan Brown believes basketball won’t start until 2021. 

Said Brown said: “I don’t see IDPH giving an inch especially with the latest COVID news.”

“I’d like to be optimistic because I’m a glass half full kind of person but a realist,” Brown added. “I have zero optimism we will be playing before January and only slightly before March.”