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Suburban Parents Sue IHSA To Let Student Athletes Play

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Late Tuesday afternoon, three west suburban parents filed a class action lawsuit against the Illinois High School Association.

The lawsuit, filed in DuPage County,  is on behalf of student athletes whose seasons have been so far ruined by the COVID-19 pandemic.

CBS 2's Meredith Barack reported Tuesday on what the families are asking for.

The plaintiffs believe the IHSA Board of Directors broke its own rules when it changed the 2020-2021 sports seasons earlier this year because of COVID. The guidelines, according to the lawsuit, include an outright ban on certain sports including football, boys soccer and girls volleyball during what was supposed to be their current season.

The lawsuit argues those changes violate the IHSA constitution. The plaintiffs are asking the court to find the changes invalid and in turn, void them, which would force the return of football and other sports.

Chris Warden, one of the parents who filed the lawsuit, said he's concerned about the long term effects this could have on student athletes.

"It would be outstanding if some of the politicians in this state would be willing to step up, make a difference for these kids, long-term, and allow them to live their lives," Warden said.

"I think we're changing lives for the worse, by decisions that are being made. we're all about safety for kids," said Lincoln-Way East football coach Rob Zvonar. "Why when I'm asked 'why didn't we go real hard at this four, five weeks ago?' Well, maybe, we were sitting back to see the other examples that were going on in surrounding states."

IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson released the following statement in response to the lawsuit:

"The IHSA has and continues to believe that we can safely conduct high school sports in Illinois, including sports deemed medium and high risk by the Illinois Department of Public Health, throughout the 2020-21 school year. We have provided our member schools with a contingency plan that allows for participation by all sports in modified seasons, while continuing to lobby IDPH and state leadership for expanded participation opportunities. We will refrain from further comment until we have the opportunity to review the lawsuit with our legal counsel."

The case will go before a judge in DuPage County on Thursday afternoon at 2:00 p.m.


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