Lawsuit Filed Against Illinois High School Association to Restart Sports

Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

The battle to restart high school athletics in Illinois may be decided by the court system. A lawsuit filed this week by lawyer Thomas DeVore on behalf of his children claims they will be “irreparably harmed” by restrictions from the Illinois High School Association (IHSA) on athletic activities due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The IHSA put in place a plan to return to competition July 3 according to Phase 4 of the state plan instituted by Gov. J.B. Pritzker. That was updated a week later, however, with stricter regulations, including the elimination of scrimmages in contact sports and requirement to wear a mask for all indoor physical activity. Among the possible reasons for the changes was a COVID-19 cluster at Lake Zurich High School believed to be linked to athletic activities.

DeVore claims that the move is, “the illegal product of collusion between state agencies, (IHSA Executive Director Craig) Anderson and the IHSA.” By restricting athletic events, DeVore is arguing that his two children, seniors in the Hillsborough Community School District in the fall, will be harmed. DeVore is seeking a temporary restraining order against the IHSA guidance.

The new rules, in either iteration, don’t directly affect swimming, as the guidelines don’t directly mention aquatic activities. Girls swimming is a fall sport in the state, while boys swimming is contested in the winter, its championships scheduled for February. Pools in Illinois have been among the slowest to reopen in the nation. The primary regulations that would affect girls swimming in the fall pertain to the limitations of how many people can attend an event.

This is not the first lawsuit that DeVore has lodged against Pritzker’s efforts to reopen Illinois. He’s represented bar owners, hair salons and two Republican lawmakers trying to sue the Democratic governor on the basis of executive overreach, benefitting handsomely in the process.


  1. avatar
    Alexis K.

    Girls Swimming in Illinois is a Fall Sport.
    Boys Swimming is a Winter Sport.
    Water Polo for both genders is Spring

  2. avatar

    In Illinois, girls swimming is a fall sport with championships scheduled for November and boys swimming is a winter sport

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