Should Illinois Consider Adding A 5th Year For High School Athletes?
On January 27, 2021 Illinois High School Athletic Association announced that it would allow high school sports, that had previously been postponed or suspended, to begin practice immediately or gave dates when they would begin in the Spring. There would be no state competition for those athletics.
The problem is that many student athletes are multi-sport participants and that would mean that the athletes would be forced to choose one sport over another, unless coaches cooperate to share the athlete.
Recently Kentucky and Maryland have submitted bills to state legislature that would also high school seniors to have another year of eligibility-- adding a 5th year to their high school athletic careers.
According to bills HB0817 and SB0759 in the Maryland senate, sponsored by Del. Haven Shoemaker and Sen. Justin Ready, high school athletes one more year to finish their high school athletic careers because of the interference of the global pandemic.
Any student enrolled in 12th grade at a public school during this school year would be eligible to participate in a high school sport at any level. Even if you graduate you may come back and participate.
The students that were forced to sacrifice all or most of their final year of high school sports deserve the opportunity to enjoy their final season, as well as compete for scholarships that may have been lost due to their inability to play.
The bill has met with some objection by the Maryland Association of Board of Education.
House Bill 817 would disrupt this balance by introducing a significant separation between the status of high school athletes who are no longer enrolled students, the enrolled students in the educational setting, and the sports team on which the students and non-students are participating,” John R. Woolums director of governmental relations for the Maryland Association of Boards of Education said in written testimony obtained by Capital News Service
Should Illinois, a state that also suspended high school athletics in the Fall of 2020 citing COVID concerns, introduce a similar bill? I think it is worth looking into.