With so many unknowns still swirling around what high school sports will look like during the 2020-21 school year, The News-Gazette sports staff will attempt to provide a few answers. Have a question? Let sports editor Matt Daniels or preps coordinator Colin Likas know by emailing [email protected], and they’ll track down an answer.
It’s not immediately an issue. Hence why, according to IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson, the organization’s Board of Directors tabled discussion on the matter.
That was Anderson’s initial reply last week when asked about possible conflicts between IHSA teams and travel teams, now that the 2020-21 IHSA calendar is structured as it is.
“We don’t believe that with the fall sports,” Anderson said, “… that there’s likely any of those that would have an overlap and need an opportunity to participate on a non-school team in conjunction with a school team.”
Perhaps a fair statement with regard to golf, cross-country, girls’ tennis and girls’ swimming and diving for their reworked IHSA fall season of Aug. 10-Oct. 17, created in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The winter sports schedule of Nov. 16 through Feb. 13 that includes basketball and wrestling also shouldn’t hamper athletes of those sports as it pertains to travel athletics.
But competitors in spring and summer ventures — especially volleyball in the spring (Feb. 15-May 1) and baseball and softball in the summer (May 3-June 26) — may have difficult decisions to make.
Multiple coaches have indicated to The News-Gazette that college recruiters more often flock to travel events — such as the AAU circuit — versus high school matchups.
“There is some reasonableness for our board to consider some exceptions to permit school and non-school activities in the same sport,” Anderson said, “to possibly coincide when normally our bylaws wouldn’t allow (that).”
Salt Fork boys’ track and field coach Phil Surprenant noted how difficult it might be for current seniors in 2021 summer sports — after they already lost their 2020 spring campaign because of the pandemic — to accurately portray to college coaches what they have to offer.
“I would hope that maybe colleges will hold off … on giving those scholarships,” Surprenant said. “It’s hard to look at what their sophomore times (were) and what they were doing as sophomores and trying to evaluate them now.”