CHICAGO (CBS) — With the city’s teachers’ strike over, Chicago Public Schools football teams now will be able to compete in the state playoffs this weekend.
The 19 CPS football teams which had qualified for the playoffs had been stressing out during the teachers’ strike, worried that the work stoppage would leave them unable to play. Illinois High School Association rules prohibit teams from playing in state tournaments if their schools are on strike.
The teams couldn’t even practice for most of the strike, and as the work stoppage lingered, they faced the prospect of not even meeting minimum IHSA practice requirements for the playoffs, even if the strike ended before the postseason started. IHSA rules require teams that haven’t practices in seven days to have at least three days of practice before they can play their next game.
With teachers and coaches on strike, the CPS teams had been unable to practice since Oct. 17, until the district gave them permission to resume practices on Wednesday, if they had a non-union coach or representative who met IHSA certifications. All 19 CPS football teams were able to make the proper arrangements on Wednesday so they could get in the three required practices before their playoff games begin on Saturday.
With the district and the Chicago Teachers Union reaching a final agreement to end the strike Thursday afternoon, and resume classes on Friday, those football teams will now be able to focus on preparing for the playoffs.
Simeon Career Academy’s team had faced an added hurdle to making the playoffs. IHSA rules require teams to play at least eight games, but Simeon’s Week 2 game had fallen through due to a scheduling mix-up, leaving them having played only seven games before the strike.
Last week, the IHSA granted Simeon and two other CPS schools a waiver to the eight-game rule.
The end of the teachers’ strike didn’t come early enough for CPS sports programs to make their respective playoffs. Golf, cross-country, soccer, tennis, and volleyball teams were forced to forfeit their postseasons last week because of the work stoppage.