IHSA appeals ruling that let CPS athletes compete ahead of state championships

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CHICAGO — Only hours after saying runners from Chicago Public Schools had earned their places at the state finals, the Illinois High School Association is challenging the judicial ruling that allowed them to run in the first place.

The IHSA's rules initially led to CPS athletes getting banned from participating during the teacher's strike, including races that were the first step in cross-country’s postseason.

However, an appeal allowed CPS athletes to run after Judge Neil Cohen called the IHSA policy ambiguous and vague, ruling Friday that it wasn't good enough to prevent kids from competing. Cohen said he was tired of adults determining whether a child gets to have a childhood.

Now the IHSA is filing another appeal, asking a judge to reverse the decision that allowed CPS cross country runners to qualify for the state championships this weekend.

IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson said in a statement released Tuesday that the appeal is not meant to prevent CPS athletes from participating, but it is a potential outcome.

Anderson said the ruling, "creates a dangerous legal precedent that hampers our ability to uphold the rules put into place by our member schools, and has far-reaching implications that impact the finality and integrity of any IHSA event."

Some parents said they're at a loss to understand the latest legal maneuvering by the IHSA, and why an organization meant "to support interscholastic activities" would try to keep some athletes from participating.

Joe Trost supports and promotes all sorts of high school sporting activities as executive director of the Pepsi Co. Showdown, and says the IHSA is way out of bounds with this one.

"IHSA should do what’s right; let the kids run this weekend, then re-gather your membership as a board next week," Trost said.

With CPS athletes back in the mix, 13 athletes from St. Viator were going to be excluded from the state cross-country match.

However, the IHSA announced Monday that runners from the Arlington Heights private school  would be allowed to compete in the state championship this Saturday in Peoria after all.

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