IHSA announces controversial return date for spring sports

Though+world-class+athlete+Cristiano+Ronaldo+is+not+affected+by+the+IHSA+announcement+directly%2C+he+is+among+many+athletes+in+the+world+fighting+to+keep+up+with+the+sports+they+love.+This+COVID-19+global+pandemic+has+restricted+the+practice+regimen+of+athletes+everywhere%2C+which+has+forced+the+IHSA+to+come+to+a+decision+about+when+they+have+deemed+it+necessary+to+return+to+normal+sports+schedules.

Photo Courtesy of Salman Khan

Though world-class athlete Cristiano Ronaldo is not affected by the IHSA announcement directly, he is among many athletes in the world fighting to keep up with the sports they love. This COVID-19 global pandemic has restricted the practice regimen of athletes everywhere, which has forced the IHSA to come to a decision about when they have deemed it necessary to return to normal sports schedules.

Dana Balmas, Assistant Editor in Chief

On March 31, 2020, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker announced that he would extend the Illinois stay-at-home order from the previous April 7th to the new date of April 30th. This puts all spring sports in desperate circumstances as their seasons are eliminated completely. Many athletes have taken to Instagram to display their outrage, including the seniors who have not been afraid to share their feelings on the situation. For some of these college athletes, they are missing out on an entire collegiate season of a sport that they worked their whole life towards perfecting. Giving up parties, movies and other various social events, these athletes were infuriated by the news. 

One athlete wrote directly to the IHSA, Illinois High School Association, and made their voice heard in the best way they could. The individual explained how they were “too strong to be affected by the Coronavirus” and that “the virus only affects older people so why should [high school athletes] have to suffer as well?” Struck by the student’s powerful words, the IHSA was forced to ignore social distancing recommendations and convene for a meeting that same day. To the surprise of athletes and students everywhere, they finally won their long-fought battle. IHSA officially announced that “All IHSA sports sanctioned activities, practices, and games may resume starting immediately on April 2nd.” The news has been forwarded to coaches and parents around the state, and it has been met with varying reactions. Athletes have taken to Twitter to make memes praising IHSA and to post IHSA photos that have been merged with powerful religious and political figures. The positive response from the IHSA statement has showcased the raw passion of these athletes for their sports. 

On the negative side, students involved in theater, music, clubs etc. have criticized the prioritization of sports over other activities that they care about. It is an issue that schools have seen for years, and these students are fighting for their justice in any way they can as well. As far as the suburban mom side of Facebook goes, the social media response has been calamitous. With Karen’s fighting the Sharon’s about the ethics of this situation, Facebook has exploded with creative red wine, carpool and karaoke night threats. The claws are out, and retraction does not seem like a possible future for these individuals. Furthermore, the local and federal governments have been extremely persistent in urging the IHSA to retract their statement. Using the arguments of “common sense, safety, and the good of all people,” the government has pleaded with the IHSA to act quickly before any legal actions must be taken.

Against everything that they have been told, the IHSA refuses to budge on their statement and will soon be holding a press conference, guarded by the 2019 Football State Champions, to confirm their final decision.