CHICAGO (CBS) — University Of Illinois, Northwestern and the entire Big Ten will play a shortened football season after all.
That decision was made Wednesday.
But it doesn’t appear to have done anything to change the mind of Illinois Governor JB Pritzker on high school football.
CBS 2’s Chris Tye reports on what it might take for him to change his mind.
Illinois is now the only state in Big Ten country not playing high school football. It’s producing some of the deepest blowback the governor has faced since the pandemic began.
And there’s a slightly different tune between Governor Pritzker and his top doc.
For a game built on numbers, the governor said there’s no magic number that would bring high school football to Illinois this fall.
“There is not a positivity level that they’re labeling for me. That at this level it’s safe,” Pritzker said. “It’s about can we mitigate the virus by having a vaccine?”
But the state’s top doctor told the media there may just be such a number.
“As we see what thresholds for positivity might decrease the risk enough for sports to happen, high risk sports,” said the head of the Illinois Department of Public Health Doctor Ngozi Ezike. “To make the most informed decisions.”
Ryan Keeler has taken a wildly different approach to a senior year he hoped would allow him another crack at the state finals with Nazareth Academy.
“With all this going on, nothing surprises me anymore,” Keeler said, who added that at least eight or nine players have left the school and the state to play elsewhere.
They bolted to Indiana, Iowa and Florida. But not Ryan.
He left Nazareth for an online degree that allows for early graduation, and early access to college.
“Get started on my college early. I’ll be there there an extra six months and play in the summer,” Keeler said.
He had the luxury of a scout visiting him his freshman year.
A perk proving more valuable, as thousands of others are anxious for a season and the millions in scholarships that may just go elsewhere.
“At Nazareth, we were pretty excited to get back to state and get the title. But unfortunately that didn’t work out,” Keeler said.
The governor said Big Ten football getting activated does nothing to change his mind. Pritzker said the daily testing, abundance of doctors and facilities that allow for socially distanced practices and travel aren’t at all similar to what high school programs can provide.