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The Illinois High School Association released an update Tuesday in response to the coronavirus pandemic, with spring sports and practices on hold until at least March 30. Preps coordinator COLIN LIKAS has a recap: 

Are schools OK to resume practices/games on March 30?

“March 30 remains the target date. However, there are state governmental, educational and health bodies that will need to approve this action as we get closer to it. It is too early to say definitively that IHSA activities will resume on March 30. Coaches will ultimately need to work in conjunction with their local school administration, as some school districts may choose to be more restrictive in their decisions to return teams to practice or games.”

Will spring sports’ state tournaments be conducted on their normal dates after a shortened season, or rescheduled later in June or July?

“At this time, we are monitoring the updates from state educators and health professionals on the best practices related to COVID-19 (coronavirus). If the March 30 deadline appears to be on schedule in the coming days and weeks, we will communicate an appropriate plan on spring sports to our member schools. It is important to remember this is an unprecedented situation and will remain fluid. It is possible, for example, that schools may reopen at some point, but that other gatherings (like sports) may remain limited.”

Can a student-athlete who is competing in a spring sport for their high school also practice or play that sport with a non-school team while school is closed?

“No. IHSA bylaws do not allow a student-athlete who is in-season to participate on a club or travel team, of the same sport, and then return to play for their high school team. If a student-athlete in this situation chooses to participate with their non-school team during the school closure, they would not be able to return to their high school team if/when the high school season resumes.”

Can a student-athlete who is competing in a spring sport for their high school also practice or play a fall or winter sport with a non-school team while school is closed?

“Yes. IHSA bylaws allow a student-athlete to participate on a non-school team if that sport is not currently in-season at the high school level.”

Could a group of student-athletes on a spring sport team gather together and practice on their own, and can that practice take place at their school facility?

“As long as the school and coach are not officially organizing the practice, they could. ... During this time of mandated closure, the IHSA does not believe it is necessary or prudent for any number of students to gather for workouts, regardless of how those students gather or whether any IHSA rule is broken by said gathering. That includes informal/player-led practices or any type of instructional session. National, state and local governmental leaders are clear: To help our country slow the spread of this pandemic, the best thing society can do is limit its interaction with one another. So, despite how difficult this may be, the IHSA strongly recommends students, parents and non-school coaches/trainers follow this advice. Doing so could ultimately end up salvaging the spring sports season.”

If spring sports are unable to be conducted this year, or if a student has to repeat a grade for any reason, including related to the COVID-19 school closing, will student-athletes receive an additional year of eligibility?

“No. Students have eight semesters of eligibility that begin when they enter ninth grade.”

During the mandated school closure timeframe, can a student-athlete compete in a non-school event that uses the skill of the sport of an IHSA sport that is currently in season?

“The student-athlete’s athletic director or official representative of their school can complete the non-school competition request form through their IHSA schools center account, and the IHSA will either grant or deny permission. In order for permission to be granted, the IHSA request form must be submitted by the athletic director or official representative at least 10 days prior to the event, and the event must be sanctioned by an IHSA approved national governing body or its Illinois affiliate or junior affiliate (i.e. USA Track and Field), and the student-athlete may only have received IHSA approval for less than three other non-school events for this sports season.”

Can a spring sport student-athlete take personal lessons while school is closed? Can the personal lessons be taught by his or her high school coach?

“Personal lessons are permitted throughout the school year and during the summer. The high school coach may provide personal lessons only if this is part of his/her livelihood and they provided to students other than just those attending the high school where he/she coaches.”

Can personal lessons be taught by a non-school team coach, and can they occur at a non-school team facility?

“Yes, as long as the personal lessons are not part of a non-school team practice or competition. Additionally, neither the high school coach nor the school can require or arrange for their student-athletes to receive personal lessons from a non-school coach. Any such lessons should be limited to two players from one high school at a single lesson.”

Colin Likas is prep sports coordinator at The News-Gazette. His email is clikas@news-gazette.com, and you can follow him on Twitter (@clikasNG).

Prep Sports Coordinator

Colin Likas is prep sports coordinator at The News-Gazette. His email is clikas@news-gazette.com, and you can follow him on Twitter (@clikasNG).