Pritzker announces new restrictions on youth sports in Illinois

Local Sports

CHICAGO (WEHT) Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker is placing new restrictions on youth and recreational sports, which will impact the high school football and basketball season. The restrictions do not include collegiate or professional sports.

The Illinois High School Association voted Wednesday to move football to the spring, as well as girls volleyball and boys soccer.

In the restrictions, each sport is put into one of three categories: high, medium low. These are based on the amount of contact between athletes and their proximity during play There are also four levels of play allowed based on current public health conditions.

  • Level 1 – only no-contact practices and training are allowed.
  • Level 2 – intra-team scrimmages are allowed with parental consent for minors but there can be no competitive play.
  • Level 3 – intra-conference, intra-EMS-region or intra-league play is allowed and there may be state- or league-championship games allowed for low-risk sports only.
  • Level 4 – tournaments, out-of-conference/league play, and out-of-state play are allowed. Championship games would also be allowed in level 4.

Based on current conditions, lower risk sports can be played at levels 1, 2, and 3. Medium risk sports can be played at levels 1 and 2, and higher risk sports can be played at level 1. This all takes effect Aug. 15.

Football, hockey and lacrosse are in the high risk category. That means it can be played at level 1, which means no contact practices, and players can only do training and conditioning only.

Basketball, soccer and volleyball are in the medium risk category. This means the sport can be played at levels 1 and 2, with no contact practices and no team scrimmages.

If multiple individuals have symptoms or test positive for COVID-19, coaches or organizations should alert the local health department.  Sports organizers or coaches also must maintain attendance logs of participants for contact tracing purposes. 

Athletic equipment such as bats and hockey sticks should be cleaned between each use.  Other equipment, including personal gear such as hockey, football, lacrosse, or other sports using helmets, pads, or gloves should only be used by one person and not shared.

Insofar as what restrictions could mean for the school year, Pritzker said schools will still be able to make those decisions for themselves.

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(This story was originally published on July 29, 2020)

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