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Even with glaring exception of 'summer sports,' IHSA schedule makes most of bad situation

DeKalb's during their game against Kaneland Monday at DeKalb High School.
DeKalb's during their game against Kaneland Monday at DeKalb High School.

It's easy to nit-pick and find some holes in the IHSA plan to restructure the sports schedule for this school year, but all in all it's making the most of a bad situation to try to get every sport its best chance of playing.

But there's one big hole that can't be ignored - especially because there's an easy fix.

After having their full season wiped out this spring, baseball, softball and track are being condensed into less than two months in a summer season between May and June.

Adding insult to injury, all three are considered low-risk sports and could start playing games in the fall. I'm sure there's no malice of forethought here by the designers of this plan, but I can understand coaches thinking they are being targeted.

Which brings us to that easy fix. The IHSA is giving the spring and summer sports 20 contact dates to use in September and October. So why not just make that fall ball season? Ten of those 20 dates can be games.

And yeah, late October doesn't scream softball weather. Or actually, it kind of does given what the last few Marches have looked like.

You can do ad-hoc leagues on geography. Have a DeKalb County Challenge with the seven baseball and softball teams playing each other, with some kind of mini-playoff at the end.

Or one of 100 other, more than likely better ideas in terms of what a fall schedule could look like. But the fact is there are ways to utilize the sports' low-risk status to give them more than a 54-day season.

But again, in all, the plan is good despite gripes from some corners. It gives every sport at least a chance of being played.

It's easy to look and say, oh this state is doing this or that state is doing that. Especially when those states are our neighbors.

But while let's say Indiana has plans for a full season, I don't see how anyone can look at what's happening in Major League Baseball, for example, and think that a high school season will be played in its entirety in the next one to four months.

Just look at the high school football programs in Illinois that tried to practice but had outbreaks of the coronavirus.

Come March, things might be different enough that a "full" season can go off without a hitch. Or at least significantly fewer hitches than a tradition season.

And there are other questions. I'm not sure how high-risk sports like wrestling are going to be ready by November. Or even what the criteria are for it to continue. Ditto football in March. Not to get all Debbie Downer here.

An while on a soapbox, it's important to point out if COVID-19 rates spike this will all be for naught. If people refuse to wear masks, have graduation parties, "homecoming parties" or other events or all the things we've been told not to do for the last five months, then this is all for nothing.

Maybe in May we'll look back and say this plan was a waste, that other states went forward and didn't suffer any massive outbreaks.

But it's far more likely that in June we'll look back on the IHSA's decision, and look at what could potentially happen in Indiana, or Iowa, or Wisconsin, or wherever and be glad for the caution after we've had four "full" sports seasons.

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