Basketball recategorized by IDPH to high risk

Unity's Zebo Zebe
Unity's Zebo Zebe starts a spin move against an Orion defender during their game on January 5, 2008. The junior had a career night setting a new shoot-out single game scoring record with his game-high of 35 points. Zebe and the host Rockets fell in overtime to the Chargers 73-68 at the 2008 Unity Boys' Basketball Shoot-Out. Unfortunately, the 2020-21 basketball season will be on hold thanks to rising numbers of positive cases of the Coronavirus throughout the state. Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Earlier today, the Illinois Department of Public Health announced that basketball has been moved into the high-risk category. The change in category puts into question the start of the already modified schedule of IHSA basketball this season.

"About 15 minutes prior to Governor Pritzker’s press conference today, we were alerted that the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) has elevated the sport of basketball from a medium risk level to a high risk level," said Craig Anderson, IHSA Executive Director in a statement forwarded to the media. "We remain considerate of the recent rise in positive COVID-19 cases in our state. However, in our meeting with IDPH on Friday (October 23), we felt that we presented multiple options that would allow for basketball to be conducted safely by IHSA schools this winter, many of which are being utilized in neighboring states who plan to play high school basketball."

Anderson followed the news with perhaps good news for other IHSA sports.

"Despite that setback, there is some positive news, as IDPH accepted the IHSA’s mitigations related to other sports, including cheerleading and dance, allowing them to move from a medium risk level to a low risk level," he added. "We will hold our special Board of Directors meeting on October 28 as scheduled, where our Board will provide direction on the other winter sports, as well as discuss the IHSA sports schedule for the remainder of the 2020-21 school year."

The fate of basketball, along with wrestling, will be announced tomorrow.

Even if the season started on November 16 as planned, with the positivity rate nears or soars above Governor JB Pritzker's mitigation thresholds throughout the state, the season would likely be canceled in the face a second wave of COVID-19 infections around mid-December.

As the saying goes, "Heavy is the head that wears the crown."

During his press conference the Governor stated that his decision would not make people happy.

"We know that this virus is of most concern when people are indoors with high contact, especially in vigorous situations that bring about heavy breathing like in wrestling, hockey and basketball," Pritzker said. "Sports played at a distance like tennis can be played and sports that can be modified to have virtual elements, like dance for example, offer more leeway in this moment and the IDPH guidance reflects that."