MAC ON SPORTS: MEETING TRYING TO BE SCHEDULED

J. Thomas McNamara

Deputy Gov. Jesse Ruiz has indicated he is trying to get a meeting set up prior to next Wednesday’s Illinois High School Association’s Board of Directors meeting.  “We do not have confirmation of a meeting as I send this update.”
    IHSA officials continue to push for a meeting with state officials as the IHSA Board of Directors meeting approaches.
    Executive director Craig Anderson sent a message to the state’s athletic directors on Wednesday, informing them of the IHSA’s latest efforts to establish some sort of high school sports schedule for the remainder of this school year amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
    At its Dec. 14 meeting, the board announced it would attempt to meet with representatives from Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s office and the Illinois Department of Public Health prior to the start of 2021.
    “We were unsuccessful with being able to schedule a meeting with IDPH in advance of the new year,” Anderson said in the e-mail.  He went on to encourage ADs to make contact with local representatives in an effort to bring together the IHSA, governor’s office and IDPH.
    “The general assembly will be organizing again this Friday, Jan. 8, 2021, in Springfield,” Anderson said. “It may be timely for us to collectively solicit support for this meeting.”
    The email included an example letter that ADs and others can send to elected officials.  The letter opens with, “I am writing you today as a citizen of the state of Illinois to express my concern with the state’s consistent lack of responsiveness to requests from the Illinois High School Association (IHSA) to meet with them to discuss ways for school-based sport to be conducted in our borders.”
    Pritzker addressed the state of IHSA-state officials relations during his Wednesday press conference.
    “It’s not like there’s no discussion that goes on about sports,” Pritzker said. “We have doctors and others that we rely upon internally to help us make some decisions, and then when we’re at a point where it’s appropriate to have a conversation with one of the organizations or a number of them, we’ll do so.”
    And recently resigned Illinois Senator Andy Manar weighed in on the issue in a Tuesday interview with Channel 1450, Springfield’s sports radio talk show, where he was asked about the conversations.  The new special adviser to Gov. Pritzker said he does not believe the IHSA handled the situation best when it suggested teams to begin play against the state’s guidelines.
    “I really think that was ill-advised,” said Manar, who resigned his Senate position to become one of Pritzker’s downstate senior advisers.
    He said he was speaking as an Illinois senator and not for the Governor.
    Once again, the Decatur Tribune brings its social media and newspaper readers the latest prep sports news, especially when it comes to the IHSA’s much-sought after dialogue with the Governor’s administration to get some feedback on how it can proceed with establishing schedules for the numerous sports in sponsors.  Hopefully, I will have some positive news to report in a future print edition of the Decatur Tribune.

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