IHSA allows more fans for outdoor sports

by Mindy Carls correspondent

More spectators will be allowed for outdoor sports, the Illinois High School Association announced on Monday, March 8.

Instead of limiting spectators to 50 persons, schools can allow fans in until they’ve filled 20 percent of the venue’s capacity.

“We have been adamant in our discussions with the Illinois Department of Public Health that we believe we can safely and responsibly expand spectator guidelines without risking the general public to greater exposure to COVID-19,” said Executive Director Craig Anderson, a native of Cambridge.

“This felt like a commonsense change, especially as we evaluated collegiate and pro sport spectator guidelines in the state,” he said. “We are happy for the student-athletes who will be participating in IHSA outdoor sports this spring and summer, as well as for their families and friends.”

The board approved postseason competition for the traditional spring sports, all the way through state finals. Because the COVID-19 shutdown began in 2020 just as spring sports began competing, they did not have a postseason series.

Spring sports include baseball, softball, bass fishing, track and field, boys tennis and girls soccer. Their seasons will run from mid-April through mid-June More information will be posted on ihsa.org this week.

Board members discussed the work of the IHSA’s new Financial AD Hoc Committee, which is preparing a plan for recovering from the economic impact of the pandemic.

The committee was scheduled to meet Thursday, March 11, to recommend membership fees for schools in 2021-22. The board will vote on the plan at its April meeting.

Orion High School cross country runners gathered in the commons for an awards ceremony streamed to family, friends and fans on Wednesday, Nov. 18. Senior Maryn Bollinger received the Most Valuable Runner Award for the girls team. She is shown running in the IHSA Class 1A cross country regional on Saturday, Oct. 24, at Saukie Golf Course, Rock Island, where she placed 15th with a time of 20:19. (PHOTO BY MINDY CARLS)