Sports Setback

IHSA delays start of fall sport season


The new IHSA rule that delays the start of a fall sport athlete’s competitive play has more of an impact and reason to be in place than assumed.

 This rule allowed athletes to avoid the agonizing heat waves during the late-summer and face less stress regarding time-management in the beginning of the school year. However, when first introduced, there was fear that the rule would be more harmful than helpful. Coaches and students were worried about whether or not they would be well-prepared for the start of their seasons.

I think there [was] plenty of time for coaches to get their athletes ready for the first contest of the season,” Athletic Director Jim Lindeman said. “Coaches and athletes will adapt and overcome any changes that are made because that is what they do.”

This change was made with student safety in mind so that students do not have to practice twice a day or over the entire summer. Football players must participate in 12 practices before their first game, cross country, girls volleyball, girls swimming, and boys soccer in nine, and girls tennis must participate in seven.

“I think the change is a minor one. I think it will allow for a break after summer camps before the regular practice season starts,” Lindeman said.

This change could be beneficial because there may be a higher level of play over the fall  season. With a break in between practices and summer camps, athletes have time to mentally prepare for school and train for the upcoming season.

This new policy allows one practice up to three hours in the first week. Additionally, it allows a walkthrough, a low intensity, non-contact, review of plays after a rest period. A second practice can be scheduled between the sixth and 14th day; however, it cannot be scheduled on back to back days. 

This may not seem to change too many things, but setting limits on practice, after all, is a part of the student-athlete safety trend. The IHSA already had a rule in place for these athletes’ safety which prohibited practices and competitions if the temperature is 90 degrees or above. However, not everyone is a big fan of the new mandated safety rules. 

“I think the longer wait will hurt teams because the kids might get out of shape during the wait,” JV quarterback, Mike Brigham said.

While a true concern for many teams, this change does give athletes who didn’t do as much training over the summer time to catch up to their teammates. This is a chance for these players to show off how dedicated they are to the sport during the school year. While change is a small one, it may open the door to a slew of new rules.