HILLSBORO — A Montgomery County circuit court judge is denying a recent challenge to the Illinois High School Association‘s (IHSA) recent COVID-19 guidelines on sports.
Thomas DeVore and Katya King, parents of students in Hillsboro Community Unit School District 3, sought a temporary injunction last month barring the IHSA and the school district from enforcing the guidelines. The suit (2020MR98) involves Hillsboro CUSD 3, IHSA and IHSA executive director Craig Anderson.
Guidelines impose considerable restrictions
The guidelines prohibit contact drills among athletes, require them to wear masks, and also limit indoor events to 50 people, including spectators. It reveals the shuffling of many seasonal sports to the spring and summer of 2021, with few exceptions.
“Unlike the right to a public education, which is clearly protected,” Judge Kevin Parker states in his ruling on July 31. “Illinois courts, including our own appellate district, have repeatedly held that the right to participate in extracurricular activities, including interscholastic athletics, is not a property or liberty interest.”
Parker cites recent court decisions do not apply to sports
The ruling also references two prior lawsuits, which do not explicitly reference sports in any manner. The first reference was in relation to Jurdan v. O’Fallon, whose decision reveals that there was no “ascertainable right” in need of protection. It also acknowledges the Bailey v. Pritzker suit, a lawsuit involving Gov. JB Pritzker.
Regarding Bailey v. Pritzker, Parker acknowledges that the order is still in full force and has not been in review for appeal. Additionally, he acknowledges that the governor lacks any power to enact executive orders after the first 30 days. Moreover, he notes that denial of the order does not construe as finding that Pritzker or the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) have any authority of any kind. Parker stipulates further that neither have any constitutional, legislative or administrative authority to impose any mandates upon the IHSA.
It was stipulated that neither party has the authority to impose mandates on Hillsboro CUSD 3 in the amended plan.
The plaintiffs now have until August 21 to file an appeal to Parker’s ruling.
DeVore is an attorney who has represented dozens of clients challenging Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s COVID-19 restrictions, a release in the Belleville News-Democrat states.
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Jake Leonard, a broadcast media and journalism veteran, is the editor-in-chief of Heartland Newsfeed. Leonard is also GM and program director of Heartland Newsfeed Radio Network, wrestling editor and contributing writer for Ambush Sports, a contributing writer for My Sports Vote and Midwest Sports Network, and a former contributor to Bleacher Report and Overtime Heroics. He resides at home in Nokomis, Ill. with his dog Buster.