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Michael Wojtychiw, Contributing Sports Editor
9:12 am CDT March 12, 2020

On Thursday, March 12, the IHSA in a press release announced that it will significantly limit attendance at the remaining games in the 2020 IHSA Boys Basketball State Series, as well as at other IHSA events, to preemptively reduce the potential spread of coronavirus.

The decision comes after consultation with the Illinois Department of Public Health and the Peoria City/County Health Department, the latter of whom made the recommendation that no more than 60 spectators per school be allowed in the arena for each contest at this weekend’s Class 1A and Class 2A Boys Basketball State Finals. The IHSA currently plans to invoke the 60-spectator per school limitation across all remaining basketball games this season.

 “This was a difficult decision shaped by thoughtful deliberation set against a truly unprecedented backdrop,” said IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson in the press release. “IHSA Basketball is America’s Original March Madness, and we recognize that this tournament is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for the competing teams, communities and fans. Ultimately though, we have to put the health and safety of the students, along with the general public, ahead of the spectacle of the event. This is and remains a fluid situation. It is important that our member schools and fans understand that events outside any of our control could lead to further changes over the coming hours and days.”

Games impacted by this change include the 2020 IHSA Class 1A/2A Boys Basketball State Finals on March 13-14, as well as the remaining contests at the Class 3A and Class 4A Sectional, Super-Sectional, and State Final levels. IHSA State Series’ in Debate, Drama & Group Interpretation, and Scholastic Bowl will also operate under a similar premise, with those events being limited to competing students, coaches and essential meet personnel.

Media will be allowed to attend and report on the games.

Wednesday, March 11, was a big day in the sports world, as many collegiate conferences announced that they would play their conference basketball tournaments in front of no fans, the NCAA announced that the NCAA Tournament will do the same.

Also on Wednesday, the NBA canceled the rest of its season after a Utah Jazz player was diagnosed with coronavirus.

It is unclear if the spring sports season will be affected.