Changes to the Sports Seasons Bring New Obstacles to Tackle for Athletes

The Illinois High School Association set guidelines for sports.

Heading into the fall semester at Glenbard West will look a whole lot different than in past years. All students are currently studying from home and many are skeptical about the future of the school year as a whole. With these changes implemented, it puts the upcoming sport and athletic season in jeopardy. 

The IHSA and the governor as of the past few weeks have put in place a tentative schedule on when each sport will take place and how much those athletes are at risk of COVID-19. Right now, it seems to be a guessing game on whether these sports will start on time or even if they will take place, but coaches and athletic directors have plans to stop the spread of the virus between players as best as they possibly can. Head Coach of the girls volleyball team at Glenbard West Pete Mastandrea explained what activities his players took part in and how they are going to approach this limited season, “Throughout the summer, we had our very limited practices and camps that were primarily conditioning. We were not allowed to scrimmage which made us as coaches learn a new way of developing our players by conditioning and technique.”

The overall outlook of this new athletic schedule places many fall sports being moved from their September and October dates to a period from the middle of February to the beginning of May. It will be a huge change for certain sports, primarily Football and Cross Country, that take place outdoors. 

However, not all sports that are moving to a later date in the school year. Some have actually been moved forward to allow multi-sport athletes to compete in all of their possible athletic competitions. Sports like Basketball and Wrestling have slightly been moved forward to avoid certain scheduling issues and conflicts. And sports such as girl’s Tennis and Golf have not been changed under these new guidelines. 

The primary reason that many sports have been pushed back to a later date by the state government and the IHSA is mainly in part to the health risk each sport possesses. Sports such as Football, Lacrosse, and Wrestling have a high risk grade by the IHSA, which means that they have been postponed until the spring and early summer. However certain athletics that do not involve as much contact would be classified as a lower risk and be allowed to participate in games as soon as the fall. As of right now, sports that classify as a higher risk like football, lacrosse, and wrestling are only allowed to participate in conditioning training, which means they are not allowed to truly practice. 

All sports are going to look a bit different this year with these new guidelines in place. However, it is truly up to the student on how they will make the absolute best of the situation.