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IHSA appeals judge’s decision allowing CPS cross-country runners into state series

The Illinois High School Association filed an appeal Monday hoping to reverse a judge’s decision to let Chicago Public Schools athletes run in the state cross-country meet.

Ian Bacon, a senior at Jones College Preparatory High School who runs cross country, speaks during a press conference outside the Daley Center.
Ian Bacon, a senior at Jones College Preparatory High School who runs cross country, speaks during a press conference outside the Daley Center.
Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times

The Illinois High School Association filed an appeal Monday hoping to reverse a judge’s decision to let Chicago Public Schools athletes run in the state cross-country meet.

“Removing the CPS runners and team who qualified for the IHSA Cross Country State Finals as a result of the Temporary Restraining Order is not the goal of this appeal, but is a potential outcome,” IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson said in a statement.

Cook County Judge Neil H. Cohen ruled Friday that all CPS cross-country teams should be allowed to run in the state sectionals. The teams competed and 13 runners and Mather’s cross-country team advanced to the state finals.

CPS cross-country teams were removed from the state meets due to the Chicago Teachers Union strike. They missed the regional round of the state series but were place in the sectionals after the judge’s decision.

IHSA rules prohibit teams from competing in the postseason if the state series begins while the district is on strike. Cohen called the policy vague.

“I’m tired of adults making decisions that rob children of their childhood and their dreams,” Cohen said. “It isn’t going to hurt the IHSA to let these kids run.”

According to Anderson, Cohen’s ruling “creates a dangerous legal precedent that hampers our ability to uphold the rules put into place by our member schools, and has far-reaching implications that impact the finality and integrity of any IHSA event. We cannot anticipate when the appeal will be determined and will follow the timeline set by the court.”