By James Kay
For months, the IHSA has attempted to get high school athletes back out on the field. After retreating from its initial Phase 4 Return to Play guidelines, the association has decided to attempt a four-season format that would push back the start date for sports considered to be at "higher risk."
While the situation is still fluid, the plan is that the fall season will consist of golf and cross country along with girls tennis and girls swimming and diving. The first season will run from Aug. 10 to Oct. 24.
Most notably, fall sports including football, boys soccer and girls volleyball will be moved to the spring, since they are considered to be higher-risk sports.
The sports that will compete in the winter season (Nov. 16 to Feb. 13) are basketball, wrestling, boys swimming, cheerleading, dance, bowling and girls gymnastics. The spring (Feb. 15 to May 1) will include football, boys soccer, girls volleyball, badminton, boys gymnastics and water polo.
A new summer season (May 3 to June 26) will be occupied by baseball, softball, track and field, girls soccer, boys volleyball, lacrosse and boys tennis.
The announcement from the IHSA comes after Gov. J.B. Prtizker's July 29 press conference, where he announced youth and adult recreational sports would be restricted to a large extent. The state breaks down what goes into the classification of a higher-, medium- and low-risk sport.
The sports considered to be at higher risk are boxing, competitive cheer, competitive dance, football, hockey, lacrosse, martial arts, rugby, ultimate Frisbee and wrestling.
The sports considered to be at medium risk are basketball. fencing, flag football or 7-on-7 football, paintball, racquetball, soccer, volleyball, water polo and wheelchair basketball.
The sports considered to be at low risk are archery, baseball, badminton, bowling, climbing and crew, cross country, cycling, disc golf, scholastic golf, gymnastics, horseback riding, ice skating, ropes courses, sailing, canoeing, kayaking, sideline spirit, skateboarding, softball, swimming and diving, tennis, track and field and weight lifting.