So much has happened in the past 7 months that it’s hard keep up with the ever-changing terms, guidelines, and conditions that the Governor’s Office, the IDPH, and the IHSA have thrown at us. Yesterday’s preemptive announcement by Governor Pritzker that basketball will be “postponed” has left all of us wondering why it’s possible to conduct high school sports in every state that surrounds Illinois, but here we’re forced to accept a ruling without much detailed data to support that ruling, especially considering guidelines were followed by Illinois high school coaches and players this fall and contact days were conducted without massive outbreaks of Covid. As coaches, our desire to bring a sense of “normalcy” to the high school athletic season has been met with another setback that seems to disregard any data or statistics that can be garnered from the surrounding states that have conducted a football, volleyball, and soccer season in the fall, and intend to conduct a full winter season. The sense of hopelessness is compounded by the fact that twice these decisions have been made and thrown at the IHSA, seemingly without consulting the IHSA first. Some of you are basketball or wrestling coaches and are directly affected by this decision. The IHSBCA supports you and we hope a season can be salvaged.
As all of this pertains to baseball, certain rulings have been made that our organization disagrees with. We don’t agree with the IHSA’s ruling to allow dual participation during any part of the IHSA baseball season. The IHSBCA pledges to work closely with the IHSA to resolve issues that are inherent in a dual-participation baseball season. We have heard your concerns. We know what this will mean to lower-level participation. We know what this will do for pitch counts. We know how this could negatively impact the integrity of the Illinois high school baseball season. There are two obvious solutions to this issue: either don’t allow dual-participation in baseball until the completion of the high school season, or move the start date of the season back to the beginning of April, and end the season on or around June 4th (the date the IHSA has allowed for dual-participation). In order for our concerns to be truly heard and considered, we recognize that timing counts, and in light of yesterday’s bombshell dropped by the Governor, we know that the IHSA’s main focus the next week or so will be structuring a winter sports season. Once we are confident that we will have the attention of the IHSA, we will meet with them to voice those concerns, and work to restore the integrity of the IHSA baseball season.
Lost in all of this is another truly monumental issue that you need to lobby your athletic directors and principals to support. Last year there was a bylaw proposal to move the start date AND the end date of the baseball and softball seasons back one week. Once the bylaw passed, the IHSA moved only the start date of the season back, and kept the end date the same, thus shortening our season by a week. Please convince your athletic directors and principals to support “Proposal #9” at their IHSA town hall meetings in November. This proposal aims to restore the original start and end dates of the baseball and softball seasons. You can read the text of the bylaw proposal here: https://www.ihsa.org/documents/bylaws/2020-21BylawProposals.pdf.
We recognize that things are changing monthly/weekly/daily, and while the baseball season may not be a priority for the IHSA right now, it is our priority. We will do everything in our power to make our voice heard and influence decisions that directly affect our sport.
The IHSBCA Board of Directors