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Gov. Pritzker announces new restrictions on sports, including school-based athletics

Football listed among a high-risk sport, restricted to no-contact practices and training

Kaneland High School football players practice at the school during football camp on July 20.
Kaneland High School football players practice at the school during football camp on July 20.

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Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker announced new restrictions Wednesday on youth and adult sports, including school-based sports governed by the IHSA and IESA, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Referencing sports-related outbreaks at both the local and national level, Pritzker said his office is issuing guidelines for three risk levels of sports (lower, medium and higher) and four tiers of levels of play, based on current public health conditions.

The four tiers include:

Level 1: No contact-practices and training only.

Level 2: Intra-team scrimmages allowed, with parental consent for minors; no competitive play.

Level 3: Intra-conference OR Intra-EMS-region or intra-league/play meets only; state- or league-championship game/meet allowed for low-risk sports only.

Level 4: Tournaments, out-of-conference/league play, multi-team meets, out-of-state play allowed; championship games allowed.

Currently, lower-risk sports can play at Levels 1, 2 and 3. Medium-risk sports can play at Levels 1 and 2. Higher-risk sports can play at Level 1.

Lower-risk sports include baseball, softball, tennis, golf and cross country. Medium-risk sports include basketball, soccer and volleyball. Higher-risk sports include football, competitive cheer and wrestling. A full list of sports can be found here.

"I know our hearts break when we hear the word restrictions, especially when it comes to our children’s love for their sports, whether this year is their first time on the court, or it’s their senior year season," Pritzker said.

"This isn’t news that anyone wants to hear. But this virus remains dangerous to kids and parents and grandparents, teachers and coaches and for right now. This is the best thing that we can do for the health and safety of our families."

The new restrictions are effective August 15.

The IHSA is expected to announce a decision on fall sports around 2 p.m. Wednesday.

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