A Change.org petition advocating for the possible, eventual resumption of Illinois high school athletics to Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker is gaining momentum.
Over 5,000 online signatures in favor of the petition have been amassed as of Thursday afternoon, attempting to appeal to the governor, Illinois Dept. of Health and related administrative bodies to allow the playing of high school sports when schools resume in the fall.
The IHSA announced in a statement earlier this week that it deferred its own Return to Play Guidelines to the Illinois Dept. of Health, Illinois State Board of Education and the governor's office.
That decision came in the wake of passing major revisions to its originally-approved Stage Four guidelines earlier this month.
Currently, an IHSA-sanctioned school is not allowed to conduct a practice with contact. Indoor use is limited to 50 individuals and face masks must be worn, unless athletes are outside and socially distanced.
The IHSA and Hillsboro Community School District 3 is also facing a recently-filed lawsuit seeking to end the revised guidance. Thomas DeVore, the southern Illinois-based lawyer who filed the suit, is asking for a temporary restraining order that would prevent the IHSA from enforcing new restrictions.
The IHSA is expected to make a final decision on the status of fall sports at its meeting on July 29.
The petition was started by a poster, Tifanie Schmale, on Wednesday.
"There are 800 high schools across the state of Illinois whose athletes are ready and want to play. We need to work together to find a way to make it happen," a portion of the petition reads.
"...We athletes and our coaches have worked hard on and off the field, and we miss the feeling of pride we have when we compete with other athletes. We know that our health and safety must be a top priority, but we believe a plan can be put together with the right guidelines in place that would allow us to play and fulfill our dreams."
"Please work to find a way to let us compete. So much has already been lost. We don’t get a second chance at this, but if you start taking action now, we can make sure that no student athlete misses out on another season. Athletes and our families matter. Please remember us. Fight for us. Find a solution. Do everything you can to make sure that we are allowed to play the game we love."