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Sources: Survey reveals fewer than 34 high schools are sure they will start basketball in November

A Zoom call with the Illinois Athletic Directors Association on Monday surveyed the number of schools that plan to play basketball in November, according to several sources.

Neuqua Valley’s Mark Gronowski (55) shoots the ball against Lockport last season.
Neuqua Valley’s Mark Gronowski (55) shoots the ball against Lockport last season.
Kirsten Stickney/For the Sun-Times

An Illinois Athletic Directors Association Zoom call on Monday revealed the initial number of Illinois high schools planning to play high school basketball in November, according to several sources.

The purpose of the call was to gauge how many schools think they will be able to start the basketball season on Nov. 16.

The IHSA announced Wednesday that the basketball season can start as scheduled. It was a totally unexpected move that directly contradicted the COVID-19 guidelines Gov. J.B. Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Public Health have outlined. Pritzker and the IDPH have said basketball can’t start until the spring.

The disagreement between the IHSA and the governor/IDPH means the final decision will come down to individual school districts. Many school officials believe going against the state government’s health guidelines would open the schools up to tremendous liability.

One Alton area athletic director confirmed that on Monday, saying that “insurance providers are not giving schools in the south a green light to play basketball.”

Brent Grisham, the Assistant Principal for Activities at Pleasant Plains, tweeted out the results of the IADA Zoom call.

The IHSA did not host the call but IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson was on the call according to a source. It’s unclear if the IHSA plans to update the public on which schools will play basketball in November. There are more than 800 high schools in the IHSA, so the 372 represents less than half. Chicago Public Schools, which has 104 high schools that play basketball, has already confirmed it will follow Pritzker’s guidelines and wait until spring to play.

Mark Vander Kooi, the Lincoln-Way East athletic director, said that he has a meeting about the decision on Wednesday.

“I can only assume we will try to stay aligned with IHSA but don’t know this with 100% certainty,” Vander Kooi said.

There has been talk that the Chicago Catholic League and the East Suburban Catholic are optimistic they will play in November. A reliable Catholic League source said the conference met on Friday and that “the majority of schools are hoping to play but are waiting to hear from their board of directors.”

Sources say CPS Sports Administration is holding a meeting with Public League schools on Monday night. It’s unclear what that meeting is about.