Illinois student athletes to file lawsuit against IHSA demanding to play

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CHICAGO — Illinois high school athletes are turning to the courts to press their demand that Gov. JB Pritzker allow them to play this fall.

Parents, students and athletes’ advocates plan to file a class action lawsuit against the Illinois High School Association Monday, demanding that it abide by its own rules —regardless of the governor’s COVID-19 shutdown.

It claims that it’s causing students to suffer mental health issues and financial hardships.

The case could go before a judge Wednesday.

Students protested Sunday outside Pritzker’s mansion. They say other states are allowing high school sports.

Illinois is the only state in the Midwest and one of 10 states that haven’t reinstated fall high school sports. Classified high risk by the state department of public health, fall sports have been moved to spring.

The lawsuit states that pushing fall sports back to spring is a violation of the IHSA constitution and bylaws. It claims a vote of members should have been taken to allow the move and alleges it has caused mental health issues for athletes and their families.

But the governor says he won’t be swayed by other states’ decisions. He’s stated repeatedly he’s not willing to sacrifice the health and lives of children and their families.

Plainfield Central High School senior Kaylie Dahms lost most of her spring soccer season due to COVID-19.

“Now they’re giving away all those athletic scholarships to the athletes from surrounding states that are able to play,” Dahms said. “It’s frustrating, all the years I’ve been training and working, all the goals I’ve set for myself, they’re extra hard to reach now.”

Attorneys are filing the class action lawsuit in DuPage County court Tuesday.

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