Members of the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Executive Board recently met with the IHSA to discuss topics concerning the upcoming 2020-21 basketball season. This group included Jim Tracy (St. Laurence), Mike Bailey (St. Patrick), Ron Winemiller (Benton), and Matt Monroe (St. Ignatius). Information was shared with coaches at an IBCA Town Hall Meeting on August 27th.
Below is a summary of questions and answers shared at our IBCA Town Hall Meeting:
Q: Is there a limitation on games that can be played during the season?
A: There is no official game limitation. Teams are limited to play only two games per week. If a team plays one game during a given week, that game cannot be added to the schedule later. Games may begin on Monday, November 30th and will conclude on Saturday February 13th. There are eleven weeks during the season where teams will be allowed to compete, but we have been advised not to schedule any games after February 6th to save room for potential postseason games (which would give teams 10 weeks to get in two games per week).
Q: What are the current plans for a postseason tournament?
A: Everything is fluid right now and no decisions have officially been made for winter seasons. We have been advised not to schedule any games after February 6th to open our schedule in case the playoffs start that week. If things are trending the same as they are now, we could expect a Regional-type playoff based on class and EMS region. If things improve, that may change. Decisions have not been made yet, but will in the future at the appropriate time.
Q: What happens if the winter season starts late? Would there be the possibility of extending the season on the back end?
A: Things are fluid right now, so nothing is off the table. However, the primary goal for the IHSA is to ensure as best as possible that all sports get to have a season.
Q: What do Contact Days look like in the fall?
A: Contact Days may be used by any sport not competing in the fall between September 7th and October 31st. Fall Contact Days will work similar to how they are used in the summer. Contact Days are defined as any day where there are sports specific activities and/or instruction. During the fall, the activities that are permitted are in line with IDPH guidelines and the level that each sport is currently in. For basketball, this includes skills training and intra-squad scrimmaging. If programs decide to participate in intra-squad scrimmaging, they must develop and collect a signed waiver from each participant's parents/guardians. Since we are in Level 2 of the IDPH Youth Sports Guidelines, a coach may not use Contact Days to coach in any off-season tournaments or leagues. It is important to note that each coach and each player is allowed 20 Contact Days total. If a coach or player works with multiple levels within a program, they will accrue Contact Days that count against the limit of 20 each time they participate in a sport specific activity. All other IDPH and IHSA guidelines must be followed at all times. Masks/face coverings must be worn by players and coaches when contact days are conducted indoors.
Q: What is the plan for wearing face masks in competition? Practice?
A: Face masks must be worn by coaches, players, and any other participants throughout the duration of any activity, including physical activity. This will be a requirement as long as medical professionals recommend the use of face coverings in public settings.
Q: With the limit of 50 people in an indoor space, how should we plan to have multiple levels play on the same night?
A: Individual schools and conferences will need to develop a plan that works for them to ensure space limitations are being strictly followed.
Q: What is the protocol if someone in your program tests positive for COVID? Would you have to forfeit upcoming games?
A: Individual schools and conferences will need to develop a plan on how to handle situations where a positive COVID-19 test occurs within a team. It is strongly encouraged for schools to work closely with local health officials and communicate with the schools they compete against.
Q: Has there been talk about lifting the weekly game limit (from 2 per week)?
A: On Monday, September 14th, the IHSA lifted the weekly game limit. Schools will revert back to IHSA season game limitations followed in normal years. For more information, please CLICK HERE.
Q: Has there been talk of lifting the limit on tournament/shootout participants?
A: On Monday, September 14th, the IHSA lifted the limit on shootout and tournament participants. However, social distancing guidelines and participation limits need to be followed. For more information, please CLICK HERE.
Q: How should we plan on scheduling games and practices for this season?
A: Individual schools and programs will be responsible for planning their schedules within the IHSA and IDPH guidelines.
Q: What is the protocol for starting the season on-time? How can we ensure this happens?
A: Encourage everyone in your program/community to follow public health mandates such as, but not limited to: wearing masks, social distancing, practicing good hygiene and following any other protocols.
Q: What are some other sports specific guidelines we might see from the IHSA for basketball?
A: The IHSA is currently working on putting together sport specific guidelines for winter sports. We should expect in-season guidelines to be similar to what we have to follow during Contact Days (i.e. mask wearing, participant limitations, etc.). We don't expect the sport specific guidelines to change the way we coach. They would be along the lines of something like being required to sanitize basketballs at certain points during competition.
Q: Has it been considered to flip the girls basketball and girls volleyball seasons since volleyball is a lower risk sport than basketball?
A: That has not been considered.
Q: Any updates on the threshold to move up (or down) a level as a sport?
A: The IDPH has not shared the qualifications to move up or down a level as a sport publicly.