Rockford Public Schools suspends basketball seasons
ROCKFORD — Rockford Public Schools announced Thursday that it is suspending its boys and girls basketball seasons because of the COVID-19 outbreak.
The news comes after the Illinois High School Association gave basketball the green light in spite of an order by Gov. J.B. Pritzker to temporarily suspend play.
The IHSA announcement was a welcomed one but when the Illinois State Board of Education said it agrees with Pritzker’s office that basketball is a high-risk sport, RPS 205 Director of Athletics Mat Parker decided to put things on hold.
“The Winnebago County Health Department and the district’s insurance provider have also advised against participating in a regularly scheduled season,” Parker wrote in a statement.
Parker said the NIC-10 Conference is in agreement with the decision and is expected to release a statement soon. High school boys and girls basketball were scheduled to begin Nov. 16.
“Our hope is to provide a modified conference season and still deliver a competitive experience for our student athletes,” Parker said.
When the modified season will commence isn’t known. If Illinois is pulled back under earlier COVID-19 restrictions amid the current surge in case, it could be months before basketball is deemed safe to play.
Basketball was previously categorized as a medium-risk activity.
“This is a difficult position for us,” Parker said. “Our administration wants very much for basketball season to continue . I’m sure just like our student athletes, families, coaches and fans. Our students’ health and safety continues to be our No. 1 priority, and we have to ultimately do what’s best for our students and delay the boys and girls basketball seasons based on the health guidance from the aforementioned state and local agencies.”
RPS is still moving forward with IHSA winter sports and activities–boys and girls bowling, cheerleading, chess, dance, debate, scholastic bowl and boys swimming and diving.