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IHSA releases 2021 schedule for sports

John Lydgate said, "You can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all the people all of the time."

IHSA News That phrase will no doubt echo the feelings around the state after the Illinois High School Association released the schedule high school sports for the remainder of the 2020-21 academic year in Illinois.

The Board of Directors issued the following statement:

"Unprecedented circumstances create extraordinary decisions. The IHSA Board of Directors faced one of the most difficult decisions in the Association’s 100-plus year history today. Please know that we did so with great diligence, empathy, and understanding. There were an immense number of factors that went into today’s decisions. We knew there would be obstacles no matter what we decided. Whether those hurdles included overlapping seasons for multi-sport athletes, equity between sports, preseason acclimatization guidelines, the prioritization of spring sports, facility conflicts for schools, officiating, and that is just naming a few. Please know that each potential roadblock was recognized and given consideration. The IHSA membership, like our state, is incredibly large and diverse. Each Board member brought different concerns to the table that impacted their own school or region differently. There was never going to be a one-size fits all solution to playing 25 sports seasons in a little over four months. What did occur was collaboration and camaraderie. Each Board member may not have been able to have all of their specific concerns addressed, but we worked together to produce a schedule and plan that we believe will work for our student-athletes."

In case you haven't seen it yet, here is the list of the sports along with their start and finish dates.

2021 IHSA sports schedule

"We understood the high level of anticipation surrounding today’s announcement, along with the scrutiny that will accompany it," said IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson. "Ultimately, the Board adhered to its stated goals throughout the pandemic: providing an opportunity for every IHSA student-athlete to compete safely this year and maximizing opportunities for traditional IHSA spring sports after they lost their entire season a year ago."

Anderson added that "many schools and coaches could likely offer a tweak here or there that would have, in their opinion, made it 'better' for their school or sport". He believe the Boarks decisions are a positive step for the mental, emotional, and physical well-being of student-athletes around the state.

"We are excited to channel our energy into creating as many positive experiences for Illinois high school students as we can between now and the end of this extraordinary school year."

Every sport listed above, except football, requires athletes to attend seven practices on seven different days prior to competing. Two-a-day practices still count as one practice. In regards to football, participants must practice on 12 different days before playing their first game. Players transitioning from basketball or boys swimming & diving into football catch a break and are only required to complete 10 different days prior to their first contest.

The other key outcome from the meeting is IHSA guidelines will require all student-athletes and coaches to participate in masks. They will not be required for swimming & diving events, gymnasts on an apparatus or at outdoor events where social distancing can occur. All game personnel not participating in the contest must also masked and social distance as much as possible.

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