Lawmakers react to recreational sports guidelines


SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (NEXSTAR)– People around the state are still digesting the guidance issued Wednesday for high school and recreational sports. Some lawmakers are questioning why the governor is restricting some sports more than others.

Congressman Rodney Davis feels the guidance is a one-size-fits-all answer to a difficult problem.

“I think it’s another example of Governor Pritzker coming in and making demands and changes without truly reflecting on how it’s going to impact the schools and kids that are impacted by this decision,” the congressman representing the state’s 13th district said. “I’m disappointed. I think it paints a broad brush throughout the state when there are clearly areas less impacted by COVID when there are many more rural school districts than urban school districts.”

While state representative Tim Butler acknowledges the impact the guidance has on the lives of the players and coaches, he is taking issue with the reasoning behind the guidelines.

“As far as I know, there wasn’t really any science behind this and the governor has staked his claim on the fact that there is some science behind this,” Butler said. “You know the one example I use is why is lacrosse a high-risk sport but basketball is a medium risk sport. Lacrosse is an outdoor sport where the players don’t brush up against each other nearly as much as they do an indoor sport like basketball yet basketball seems to be under a lower risk.”

Butler said the governor should have included the General Assembly in the process before releasing the guidance, leaving him with questions about why some decisions about rec sports were made.

“One of the things really that stood out to me also about the governor’s announcement yesterday is the lack of involvement of collegiate sports. Now I understand, that’s a different level but I also understand there is a lot of money at play when it comes to collegiate sports,” the Springfield republican said.

Davis said he believes every decision about reopening schools and school athletics should be handled at the local level where leaders are able to see they best way to keep children safe during the pandemic.

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