By Blake Haas
BLOOMINGTON – “A roller coaster ride” is how one local high school boy’s basketball coach described the past week after various announcements from the IHSA and Gov. Pritzker.
On Tuesday, Gov. Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Public Health updated safety guidelines which moved basketball from a medium-risk to high-risk activity.
Going against the Governor’s wishes on Wednesday, the IHSA announced boys’ and girls’ basketball practices could begin in November.
Speaking with WJBC’s Marc Strauss, Normal Community High School boy’s basketball coach Dave Witzig said he sides with IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson and the board’s decision.
“When we heard the IHSA’s announcement, we were really excited when we heard what the Governor said, so no one is really sure what to think. I’m really confident in Craig Anderson and his plan that they have. I just think of our Normal Community gym that we have with no fans, no concessions, band or cheerleaders that we could really space people out. The teams could be on separate sides of the floor, and I think it’s a really good plan that could really work well. Our school district has not made a decision yet, but as a basketball coach, I would love to see us be able to play in November.”
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.
Witzig said if Unit 5 gives the green light to play, the district has a schedule in place.
“For right now, if we would say that everything is going on as planned, we have a 20-game conference schedule all set. And then we are playing teams in our region that are set up. We have nonconference games against Morton, Pekin, Rock Island, Moline, United Township, and Ottawa. Those are some of the teams that are in our region that we can play. We have a schedule set, and I guess I don’t know how it would work if it got pushed into March.”
LISTEN: Normal Community High School boy’s basketball coach Dave Witzig speaking with WJBC’s Marc Strauss.
For those who elect to play, boys and girls’ basketball practices are scheduled to begin November 16th, with the season opens November 30th.
Blake Haas can be reached at Blake.Haas@Cumulus.com.