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Daily Journal
     October 28, 2020      #72-302 KDJ
Herscher junior Cody Lunsford dons a mask while practicing free throws Thursday morning at Limestone Middle School during an open gym day.

Daily Journal/Tiffany Blanchette

IHSA announces basketball will start on time,

Daily Journal Staff Report

A day after the Illinois Department of Public Health elevated basketball to a higher risk sport according to its Return To Play Guidelines, the Illinois High School Association announced that prep basketball will continue to move forward with plans to start the season on time.

In an press release issued Wednesday, the IHSA announced that despite the new changes made to the IDPH guidelines, basketball will still begin with practices on Nov. 16, with games set to begin Dec. 1.

"In August, the board slated basketball to take place from November to February based on the Illinois Department of Public Health [IDPH] assigning a medium risk level to the sport," the IHSA said in a release to IHSA member schools. "The IHSA Sports Medicine Advisory

The committee (SMAC) offered additional mitigations, such as masks during play and social distancing on benches, that the SMAC believed would allow basketball to be played safely.

"The high school basketball season was potentially put on hold on Oct. 27, when Gov. [JB] Pritzker announced that IDPH had changed basketball’s risk level from medium risk to high risk," the release continued. "After diligent discussion, the board has made the decision today to follow the recommendation of the IHSA SMAC as it relates to basketball."

The release stated that local officials will be the ultimate decision-makers on an individual basis for schools to choose if they will play or not. Similarly, the choice to allow fans at games will also be left up to local officials to decide.

The IHSA also announced that the wrestling season will shift from the winter to the summer. All other winter IHSA sports — boys swimming and diving, cheerleading, dance, boys and girls bowling and girls gymnastics — will join basketball in starting on time next month.

More information will be made available after a virtual meeting with the IHSA and its member athletic directors is completed this afternoon. More specific guidelines may not be released until later this week, according to the IHSA's release issued Wednesday.

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