By Marc Strauss and Blake Haas
BLOOMINGTON – The executive director of the IHSA says basketball has the green light to play during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Craig Anderson said that’s why the IHSA board of directors voted this week to defy the wishes of Governor Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Public Health and move forward with a season.
“The movement for basketball from medium to high-risk unexpectedly on Tuesday caught the board off guard. After we had, in our opinion, had successfully completed fall contact days where students were engaged in the sport of basketball in their within their own school and conducting scrimmages with as far as we know little to no spread of the virus.”
Anderson says some school districts may choose to opt-out of playing this season. Players will be required to wear masks for those who decide to opt-in, and fans probably won’t be allowed in gyms.
While schools will have to weigh the risk of playing, Anderson said he’s not worried about liability issues.
“That will be a local district decision. You know they will have to correspond with their legal representation to see if they want to take that on. When schools conduct any type of sports activity or have people come onto their campus for competitions, there is always a legal liability in a sense. So they likely have insurance related to that.”
For those that elect to play, boys and girls basketball practices are scheduled to begin November 16th while the season opens November 30th.
Marc Strauss can be reached at Marc.Strauss@Cumulus.com
Blake Haas can be reached at Blake.Haas@Cumulus.com.