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CPS will allow football teams to practice during the Chicago teachers strike

The Illinois High School Association will allow the practices as long as the coaches meet IHSA certification by-laws.

Marine’s Isaac Thorton (25) takes down Phoenix’s Jamon Gooden (2).
Marine’s Isaac Thorton (25) takes down Phoenix’s Jamon Gooden (2).
Kirsten Stickney/For the Sun-Times

Chicago Public Schools announced Wednesday that it will allow football teams to practice with non-Chicago Teachers Union coaches during the teachers strike. CPS Athletic Administration requested the move and received approval from the Board of Education.

The Illinois High School Association will allow the practices as long as the coaches meet IHSA certification by-laws.

The practices will keep the hopes of 19 CPS football teams alive for another couple days. They now likely have until Friday afternoon or evening before playoff games are forfeited due to the strike.

The CTU and CPS reached a tentative agreement on Wednesday night but the CTU will remain on strike until Mayor Lori Lightfoot agrees to make up all 10 missed school days. The strike must be suspended or over for the football teams to compete in the state playoffs.

“Per the IHSA Strike Policy, Chicago Public Schools football teams may not compete in their IHSA Football Playoff games scheduled for Saturday unless the strike is settled,” IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson said. “An exact timeline for determining the forfeit deadline will be announced later this week.”

The IHSA forfeited games in the other sports on the day the state playoffs began. For football that is Friday at 6 p.m.

Ag. Science, Dunbar, Phillips, Sullivan, Phoenix, Taft, Payton, Lincoln Park, Kenwood, Amundsen, Simeon, Morgan Park and Hyde Park have all confirmed that they have certified, non-Chicago Teachers Union coaches to run the football practices. It appears all 19 teams were able to have practices on Wednesday.

The IHSA’s bylaws require a football team to have three practices before playing a game if the team hasn’t practiced in seven days. CPS teams have now missed 11 days of practice due to the strike, so the rule kicked in. The teams needed to practice Wednesday or they would not have had enough days to get three practices in before the playoff games on Saturday.

Payton football coach George Klupchak began drawing attention to the possibility of the CPS allowing practices on Twitter on Tuesday night.

“If the strike is going to end Friday and the Board of Education didn’t give us a chance to practice the last three days that would be a shame,” Klupchak said. “It is within the IHSA rules for them to allow it.”

CPS golf, soccer, tennis and cross-country teams were forced to forfeit their playoffs last week. Fifty-six schools forfeited girls volleyball state playoff games on Monday. Nearly 3,000 CPS students have had their state playoffs forfeited because of the strike.

“CPS and CTU need to lock the doors and this time be true to their words,” Phillips coach Troy McAllister said. “The other night they said they wouldn’t leave and a few hours later they left. And not just for the football players. An agreement needs to be made.”

CPS teams in state playoff games

Class 8A

Taft at Huntley

Curie at Homewood-Flossmoor

Class 7A

Lincoln-Way West at Phillips

Lincoln Park at Rolling Meadows

Class 6A

Lakes at Simeon

Mather at Antioch

Riverside-Brookfield at Kenwood

Morgan Park at East St. Louis

Class 5A

Fenwick at Payton

Hyde Park at Rockford Boylan

Marmion at Amundsen

Class 4A

Phoenix at Coal City

Kewanee at Ag. Science

Clark at St. Francis

Sullivan at IC Catholic

Class 3A

Carver at Paxton-Buckley-Loda

Harlan at Durand

Dunbar at Eureka

Class 2A

Orr at St. Edward