(Illinois High School Association logo)

The Illinois High School Association (IHSA) is pausing winter sports following the announcement from Governor J.B. Pritzker that increased COVID-19 restrictions will begin Friday.

A statement from the IHSA says that it's hopeful that the new restrictions and the emergence of COVID-19 vaccines will help create participation opportunities in the new year for student athletes.

The IHSA Board is scheduled to meet Thursday. The organization says the new guidance from the governor's office will aid in the board's decision making.

The ISHA has asked for representatives from the governor's office and Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) to engage with the IHSA Board of Directors to help figure out how to resume high school sports as soon as possible. Representatives from the governor's office and IDPH are not expected at Thursday's meeting.

The IHSA and the governor's office have been at odds recently over whether or not basketball should be played this winter. Last month, Governor Pritzker announced that basketball would be now considered a high risk sport and asked that it be postponed until the spring season. Basketball was previously considered to be a medium risk sport for COVID-19 spread. The IHSA has said that basketball is safe to play and said that it will allow schools to play basketball in the winter. Ultimately, it is up to individual schools on which sports can be played. The point is moot because of the new restrictions announced Tuesday.