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Reader survey: Spring sports parents and players unhappy with IHSA's new calendar

'Football keeps 78% of their season, while baseball loses 80% of their games in two seasons?? Absolutely ridiculous.'

Matthew Apgar -
William Morris of Belvidere tags out Matthew Searls of DeKalb on a pickoff at second during their baseball game on Thursday, March 23, 2017 at DeKalb High School in DeKalb.
Matthew Apgar - William Morris of Belvidere tags out Matthew Searls of DeKalb on a pickoff at second during their baseball game on Thursday, March 23, 2017 at DeKalb High School in DeKalb.

This week, Shaw Media Illinois asked our readers a few questions about the IHSA's decision to alter its schedule amid the COVID-19 pandemic, specifically moving football, girls volleyball and boys soccer to the spring, and creating a shortened summer season for traditional spring sports.

Teams in all sports will play shortened regular seasons. State tournaments will be determined on a sport-by-sport basis.

Remaining fall sports will compete from Aug. 10 to Oct. 24 and winter sports from Nov. 16 to Feb. 13. Some traditional spring sports will be moved to a new summer period. Football, boys soccer, girls volleyball, girls badminton, boys gymnastics and water polo will compete in the spring from Feb. 15 until May 1. Baseball, softball, track and field, girls soccer, boys volleyball, lacrosse and boys tennis will compete in the summer from May 3 to June 26.

This survey, while not scientific in nature, included respondents from 11 counties in northern Illinois; towns from Wauconda to Algonquin to Joliet to Sycamore to Peru to Rock Falls.

Some patterns emerged among the roughly 75 responses we received. Among the responses, 55% of respondents expressed frustration or concern about spring sports either being moved to later in the year or wanting baseball and softball to be moved to the fall.

Beyond that, 40% of responses included questions and concerns about the logistics of how a season will look – will there be a state series, who can teams play and who can they not play, and the relationship and regulations regarding school and club sports.

Specifically, we asked these questions:

1) What is your initial reaction to the IHSA's decision on fall sports?

2) How will these changes affect what sports you play/your child plays?

3) What questions do you have for the IHSA or IDPH after these announcements?

4) What, if anything, should the IHSA or IDPH done differently?

Here is a sample of responses when we asked for initial reactions to the IHSA's decision on fall sports

Levi Maierhofer of Seneca: "As a senior athlete in cross country and baseball, I was relieved to hear that the IHSA has a plan for all sports. I would've been really disappointed for my teammates who have been working extremely hard over the summer months to get in shape and improve. I was mentally prepared for a cancelled season, so today's news made me ecstatic about the fall season. I think that all athletes and parents should be happy that we have this opportunity, though shortened and different, because it's likely the best opt

Maria Del Medico of Elmhurst: "Disappointed and upset! I thought spring sports would be a priority.They just shoved them to the side."

Jennifer O'Leary of Cary: "What a shame that baseball is such an after thought. They will be starting their sport just as they’re coming up for finals and graduation? Wasn’t enough they already lost a whole season in 2020?"

Here is a sample of responses when we asked how these changes will affect what sports you/your child plays:

Shannon Wagner of Aurora: "My sons play baseball and this pushes their high school season into June, possibly July if there are state playoffs.This has a huge impact on their travel programs that are supposed to start in early June."

Mark Schmidt of Schaumburg: "I coach baseball. I am wondering why football gets an 11 week season after a full season last year, but baseball, softball, and other spring sports get 8 weeks after having zero games last year. It does seem money was a big factor here. Why not give at least one or two more weeks to some of the spring sports that missed basically all of last season?"

Michele Nothdorf of Wonder Lake: "My only change could be if travel baseball and club volleyball don’t also adjust their schedules. I don’t want my kids to have to choose between travel and high school. That would not be fair to the students or to either set of programs."

Here is a sample of responses when we asked what questions you have for the IHSA or IDPH:

Edward Smith of Plainfield: "How will football schedules be determined?"

Cris Zakosek of DeKalb: "How will wrestling and basketball look? Will they be required to wear masks to play?"

Nicci Gibson of Peru: "Are they going to allow a waiver this year to allow kids to play travel/club sports and the same sport in the same season?

"Are they going to have championships for softball/baseball and volleyball? When will they be? After the allowed time limits? Or during the May 1 - June 26th? Need more explanation on that."

Here is a sample of responses when we asked for what the IHSA or IDPH should have done differently:

Ava Hartsell of Glen Ellyn: "My spring sport is softball and obviously I didn’t get to play at all last year and then it looks like the season would only be one month for high school. I personally don’t have aspirations of playing in college but I know some of my teammates do and I think it would have been more equal if the IHSA/IDPH was able to either make those spring sports a priority and have them play in the fall or better organize how long each season is for sports."

Caleb Damron of Marseilles: "Give the families of student athletes more value of their opinion. We generally feel that our opinion was worthless. Also, IHSA and their medical board should have stepped up and made decisions rather than passing the buck and attempting to defer any responsibility."

Sherri Kobylinski of St. Charles: "Let spring sports play this fall. They already lost a season and now they get bumped all the way to summer when school ends! Ridiculous."

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