Illinois student athletes, parents sue IHSA for return of fall sports even as COVID-19 cases rise in some counties

ByABC7 Chicago Digital Team via WLS logo
Wednesday, September 30, 2020
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A group of student athletes and parents have sued the Illinois High School Association, demanding the return of fall sports.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A group of student athletes and parents have sued the Illinois High School Association, demanding the return of fall sports.

In their lawsuit, the group claims the guidelines issued by the IHSA moving falls sports like football to the spring violate the IHSA's own bylaws. The plaintiffs claim the "amendments to the IHSA by-laws were not enacted through the legislative process that the IHSA Constitution requires."

Parents, students to file lawsuit against IHSA for canceling fall sports due to COVID-19

The group is asking the court to declare the Return to Play and Contact Day guidelines invalid and void because they change the by-laws, and to issue a temporary restraining order.

Dave Ruggles, the lead plaintiff on the class-action lawsuit, said his son Brady plays basketball at Wheaton-Warrenville South, but due to the pandemic, the season isn't happening.

"We gotta get the kids back in school," Ruggles said. "We gotta get the kids back in sports."

Sports affected by the lawsuit include football, soccer and volleyball.

Gov. Pritzker has said that even though other states are allowing high school football and other contact sports, his scientific advisers say the risk of spreading COVID-19 is still too high.

RELATED: Orland Park rallies to demand return of fall sports, in-person learning

Parents and students in the suburbs have been holding protests for weeks, demanding a return to fall sports and in-person learning, even as COVID-19 case numbers and positivity rates have continued to rise in their counties.

RELATED: Hinsdale South High School football player tests positive for COVID-19, football program shut down for 2 weeks

The IHSA responded to the lawsuit with a statement, saying, "The IHSA has and continues to believe that we can safely conduct high school sports in Illinois, including sports deemed medium and high risk by the Illinois Department of Public Health, throughout the 2020-21 school year. We have provided our member schools with a contingency plan that allows for participation by all sports in modified seasons, while continuing to lobby IDPH and state leadership for expanded participation opportunities. We will refrain from further comment until we have the opportunity to review the lawsuit with our legal counsel."