J. Thomas McNamara
On June 16, 1858 Abraham Lincoln delivered his famous “a House Divided Against Itself Cannot Stand” speech to his Republican colleagues in the House of Representatives in Springfield.
His comments seem appropriate at this time as we are witnessing daily a power struggle over prep basketball between Governor JB Pritzker and his administration and the Illinois High School Association.
In a nutshell, Pritzker wants to move boys and girls prep basketball from this winter to next spring while the IHSA wants to proceed with basketball being played, starting with practices Nov. 16 and games Nov. 30.
Already the state is divided as the Chicago Public League has agreed with the Governor and is moving Public League basketball to next spring. Other Chicago and downstate schools are expected to follow. The Decatur school district administration and school board announced this morning (Friday)that it was continuing with remote learning which has closed all school buildings to extracurricular activities and athletics.
That means none of the MacArthur and Eisenhower boys and girls student-athletes, who are seeking college basketball scholarships to continue their academic and athletic careers will get the opportunity to showcase their talents to college and/or university coaches who will watch their games which is a travesty.
They are denying these young men and women, who cannot afford college education on their own, the opportunity to earn college scholarships to get them into college where by playing basketball or football their education is paid.
Simeon coach Robert Smith told Michael O’Brien of the Chicago Sun-Times, “Will kids transfer and move to go other places? Probably so. We don’t know. Kids want to play. They are kids so they don’t look at the severity of how bad things could be.”
I will have more on this developing and very fluid story in a future print edition of the Decatur Tribune.