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The IHSA could’ve opened up a big can of legal worms

Friday, Oct 30, 2020

* WBEZ

The boys and girls high school basketball seasons are on in Illinois, opening the door for other high contact sports to play this year — as well as potential lawsuits. […]

“IHSA may have their views of it, but school districts know what the rules are,” Pritzker said. “It’s unfortunate, but [school districts] would probably be taking on legal liability if they went ahead and moved beyond what the state had set as the mitigation standard.”

* Nexstar

[IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson] was asked about the risk of lawsuits the IHSA might potentially face.

“You know at some point, I think over the next month or whatever time frame we’ll figure out if this is a legal issue for us as an association or if it is for our schools and then we’ll have to pivot as we’ve been pivoting a number of times throughout this school year.”

It’s probably more about the schools. But we’ll see.

* Joliet Herald-News

“The problem you are going to have is, even if you have parents sign waivers, if a kid gets [COVID-19] and then goes out and gives it to someone else, you have a potential of a lawsuit against the school district,” [Attorney Terry Ekl] said. “The basis of the lawsuit is they ignored the Illinois Department of Public Health and went ahead and allowed these kids to play.” […]

“There’s a proof issue involved here, but that doesn’t mean the school district is not going to get sued and have to engage in costly defensive litigation,” Ekl said. “Sometimes the cost of litigation exceeds the cost proven to be a damage. You win the case, and you still have to pay the cost of defense, which could be tens of thousands of dollars.” […]

“[Insurance carriers] may very well say to the school district, ‘If the department of public health is saying they are recommending you should not play basketball, and you go ahead and do it, we would negate your insurance coverage,’” Ekl said. “‘We’re telling you right now you should not engage in athletic activities that are in conflict with the Illinois Department of Public Health.’”

Ekl said a group of parents approached him last month about suing the IHSA. He said he researched the matter and ended up turning down the case, which was dismissed by a DuPage County judge Oct. 1.

* Les Winkeler at the Southern Illinoisan

I covered the courthouse beat in a previous life. The lawsuit will read something like this, “Good ol’ Hometown High fielded a basketball team in the midst of a pandemic, disregarding state medical guidelines. As a result of this negligence, athletes suffered illness, resulting in death.”

And, given the strong, consistent pronouncements of state officials, that’s a difficult argument to refute.

What’s more, the Illinois State Board of Education also Tweeted that due to liability issues schools, should think carefully before plunging ahead with the basketball season.

In terms of standing up for student-athletes, I suppose you could interpret the IHSA’s actions that way. Given the fact that athletes could possibly be exposed to infected individuals by competing with students outside their circle, the organization’s response seems less heroic.

…Adding… I meant to post this and somehow forgot. Sorry

Chicago Public Schools will likely not play basketball this winter. The CPS sent a memo to schools on Thursday announcing that girls and boys high school and elementary school basketball is postponed until further notice and possibly moved to the spring or summer of 2021.

“While the Illinois High School Association has not removed high school basketball from its winter sports calendar, [Gov. J.B. Pritzker] and [the Illinois Department of Public Health] have determined that basketball presents a greater risk of COVID-19 transmission and is not safe to play this winter,” the email from CPS said.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

61 Comments
  1. - dan l - Friday, Oct 30, 20 @ 11:24 am:

    It’s almost like an organization that manages high school sports isn’t qualified to make decisions where there’s public health concerns.


  2. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Oct 30, 20 @ 11:24 am:

    === “The problem you are going to have is, even if you have parents sign waivers, if a kid gets [COVID-19] and then goes out and gives it to someone else, you have a potential of a lawsuit against the school district,” [Attorney Terry Ekl] said. “The basis of the lawsuit is they ignored the Illinois Department of Public Health and went ahead and allowed these kids to play.”===

    I’m not saying that’s was my first thought… I’m not saying that…

    === I covered the courthouse beat in a previous life. The lawsuit will read something like this, “Good ol’ Hometown High fielded a basketball team in the midst of a pandemic, disregarding state medical guidelines. As a result of this negligence, athletes suffered illness, resulting in death.”

    And, given the strong, consistent pronouncements of state officials, that’s a difficult argument to refute.

    What’s more, the Illinois State Board of Education also Tweeted that due to liability issues schools, should think carefully before plunging ahead with the basketball season.===

    There will be lawsuits… they will be expensive, maybe ruinous… and maybe hurt small towns most.

    But… sports… amirite?


  3. - Publius - Friday, Oct 30, 20 @ 11:26 am:

    If this happened to me I wouldn’t hesitate to persoanlly sue everyone involved. That would include the school board, the coach, county health deparment, sherrif/police chief, and the governor. I would put them so far in they wouldn’t be able to work anywhere for the rest of their life.


  4. - Norseman - Friday, Oct 30, 20 @ 11:29 am:

    There’s definitely one group that will be a sure winner in this matter - the lawyers. Taxpayers will pay, parents will pay, people will get sick or worse, but by God, basketball will go on despite that darn old pandemic.


  5. - PMS - Friday, Oct 30, 20 @ 11:34 am:

    Publius, this happened to our family. Son missed last year basketball, last year baseball and this year’s college football (since this is about sports, it all I’m addressing) We didn’t sue anyone, we followed science.


  6. - Pundent - Friday, Oct 30, 20 @ 11:36 am:

    In reality the IHSA did nothing. They offered an opinion but little more than that. Ultimately the school districts will have to weigh these issues. And I would hope in doing so they’d heed the advice of Terry Ekl.

    There was similar noise in the spring at the local government level about ignoring Pritzker’s EOs and guidance. Lots of noisy village trustees and mayors who weren’t going to be told what to do by the governor. But ultimately it wasn’t the governor who told them what to do, it was their attorneys.


  7. - Interim Retiree - Friday, Oct 30, 20 @ 11:37 am:

    Watch your local school district’s tort levy go up. Remember there is no maximum rate limit, so when a district gets sued… Those screaming loudest about letting them play will also then scream about their property taxes going way up.
    The community doesn’t rally round the English department.
    As OW said, But…sports…


  8. - Haven't picked one yet - Friday, Oct 30, 20 @ 11:38 am:

    Will there be lawsuits for the Pro athletes or college athletes in the coming months/years for playing their sports and spreading Covid-19? If a HS gets sued, I would also think that would be in the future. Thoughts?


  9. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Oct 30, 20 @ 11:45 am:

    - Haven’t picked one -

    Back *again*? … lol

    === Will there be lawsuits for the Pro athletes===

    Yeah, talk to their UNIONS… that’s who they will sue first, then the leagues…”unsafe workplace” … it’s a business, keep up

    === college athletes in the coming months/years for playing their sports and spreading Covid-19?===

    I’d start watching Bradley Feeney

    Who’s he?

    He is (or was?) an offensive lineman at Indiana University, still struggling, and that report how covid lingering effects with B1G athletes, I’d imagine we’ll see that too.

    For the love of Pete… ever heard of Cade Mays?

    Mays is suing Clemson… for losing a finger… you don’t think families aren’t going to sue after the season?


  10. - walker - Friday, Oct 30, 20 @ 11:47 am:

    Another interest group with a narrower constituency than the Governor’s.


  11. - Leigh John-Ella - Friday, Oct 30, 20 @ 11:47 am:

    School board lawyers aren’t exactly known for their trial experience and expertise. Their entire lives are built around avoiding lawsuits and legal work.

    And that’s before you get to the insurance companies, who aren’t exactly known for wanting to take on risks.


  12. - Steve Rogers - Friday, Oct 30, 20 @ 11:48 am:

    haven’t pick one yet: what are you even asking? Yes, if a HS gets sued, it would be in the future, unless your lawyer is H.G. Wells.


  13. - Haven't picked one yet - Friday, Oct 30, 20 @ 11:49 am:

    OSWEGO your stuck with me now. I’m here to stay.


  14. - Rich Miller - Friday, Oct 30, 20 @ 11:50 am:

    ===I’m here to stay===

    That wouldn’t be up to you, bub.


  15. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Oct 30, 20 @ 11:58 am:

    Let’s put a little more perspective;

    Back to Clemson, while seemingly allowing football athletes to get infected for immunity, Trevor Lawrence, QB, 1st pick lock in the next NFL draft, is infected.

    We’re talking a healthy Lawrence is going to sign that contract for $30+ million in guaranteed monies as a QB.

    You think if he struggles recovering no one is gonna get sued. Odds are, his family took out an insurance policy on him for injury (not a global pandemic?) playing this year.

    So…

    How many high schools are going to test… like Clemson… 3 times a week… have a Covid-19 protocol officer, and make isolation and tracing a priority?

    What Illinois high school can do that for basketball right now… match Clemson… who now is without the #1 draft prospect in all of college football?

    Gonna bankrupt a family in medical bills… and also bankrupt a school district too… for basketball?


  16. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Oct 30, 20 @ 12:01 pm:

    === to protect===

    I’d move on. I was teasing, I’m leaving it at that.


  17. - Donnie Elgin - Friday, Oct 30, 20 @ 12:05 pm:

    =We’re talking a healthy Lawrence is going to sign that contract for $30+ million in guaranteed monies as a QB=

    Clemson QB likely to skip 2021 daft. No one wants to end up with the Jets/Giants

    Quarterback Trevor Lawrence hinted on Tuesday that he could skip the 2021 NFL Draft and return to Clemson for his senior year. Said Lawrence, per ESPN


  18. - Huh? - Friday, Oct 30, 20 @ 12:07 pm:

    As I see the differences between college and professional sports vs high school sports is that the college and pros are adults able to make decisions about their lives and health.

    Whereas the high school sports the players are under the age of consent. And the schools have an obligation to the player’s health under the doctrine of loco parentis.


  19. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Oct 30, 20 @ 12:11 pm:

    === Clemson QB likely to skip 2021 daft. No one wants to end up with the Jets/Giants===

    Reminds me of Eli Manning not wanting to go to the then San Diego Chargers.

    Who knows, if Lawrence misses the ND game next week, he may want to stay for the challenges if Clemson were to lose to the Fighting Irish.

    Lawrence can afford to be picky.

    Illinois school districts facing lawsuits from others infected, traced to a high school basketball game might not have choices.


  20. - Wonk - Friday, Oct 30, 20 @ 12:12 pm:

    Waivers on behalf of minors are barely worth the paper they are printed on in Illinois. I suspect we’ll see schools deciding not to play once their lawyers chime in.


  21. - Nobody - Friday, Oct 30, 20 @ 12:12 pm:

    Thank goodness the IHSA is following the real science and the death rates not political science.


  22. - Chicagonk - Friday, Oct 30, 20 @ 12:13 pm:

    If schools are open, how is having sports going to lead to an increase in cases? And if there is a slight uptick due to sports, does that mean the decision to have sports was wrong? If we were locking down everything else, I’d understand, but explain why a church can have a service on Sundays and the casino can be 25% open but seniors can’t experience what for many of them will be their last season of competitive basketball.


  23. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Oct 30, 20 @ 12:16 pm:

    === Thank goodness the IHSA is following the real science and the death rates not political science.===

    They’re banking on them (IHSA) not being on the hook.

    So of course, “no liability”… “let’s play”


  24. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Oct 30, 20 @ 12:21 pm:

    === seniors can’t experience what for many of them will be their last season of competitive basketball.==

    Explain why the NHL and NBA needed a “bubble” plan… and why Canada allowed an NHL bubble but refused to have the Toronto Blue Jays play in Toronto?

    Billion dollar sports… spending millions for bubble “winter sport” experiences… and Illinois thinks high school basketball, given these upticks too, is a smart thing, “because seniors”…

    Hmm.


  25. - Donnie Elgin - Friday, Oct 30, 20 @ 12:22 pm:

    =Thank goodness the IHSA is following the real science and the death rates not political science=

    Lots of “science” out there. From University of Wisconsin Study…

    “No sports were found to have a higher incidence rate of COVID-19 overall than 14-17 year-olds. None of the cases among the athletes resulted in hospitalization or death”

    https://tinyurl.com/y3vyjhyw


  26. - Pundent - Friday, Oct 30, 20 @ 12:22 pm:

    =how is having sports going to lead to an increase in cases?=

    I never took a hard foul in math class. And today kids are wearing masks in the classroom can’t say the same for the basketball team.


  27. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Oct 30, 20 @ 12:33 pm:

    === “No sports were found to have a higher incidence rate of COVID-19 overall than 14-17 year-olds. None of the cases among the athletes resulted in hospitalization or death”===

    When I read… higher incidence rate … hospitalizations or death… it doesn’t say “no cases occurred”

    It’s not just the athletes, it’s also who the athlete then infects… family, friends… if it were so isolated, we wouldn’t be seeing 230,000 deaths.

    Good stuff, good grab of that report too


  28. - Morty - Friday, Oct 30, 20 @ 12:51 pm:

    ” how is having sports going to lead to an increase in cases?”

    Schools are requiring masks, reducing the # of students in a room, and requiring a maintenance of 6 feet at all times.

    How does that mesh with basketball?


  29. - Morty - Friday, Oct 30, 20 @ 12:58 pm:

    And many of those same basketball schools have not returned in in person learning. But that’s kind of the point, right?

    Basketball is safe because schools are safe…

    In person learning is safe because basketball is safe…

    Which ultimately leads to the circular logic that says ”there’s no need for any COVID restrictions at all”, which is what they really are arguing for.


  30. - LakeCo - Friday, Oct 30, 20 @ 12:59 pm:

    =seniors can’t experience what for many of them will be their last season of competitive basketball=
    As my dearly departed dad would say, WHOGAS? Seriously, in case no one has looked around, everybody’s lives have been disrupted by the pandemic. In the context of job loss, health loss, life loss, losing a season of high school sports is such a small thing to complain about…


  31. - Bigtwich - Friday, Oct 30, 20 @ 12:59 pm:

    === seniors can’t experience what for many of them will be their last season of competitive basketball.==

    On the other hand many seniors will experience what for many of them will be their last season.


  32. - City Guy - Friday, Oct 30, 20 @ 1:03 pm:

    I understand people wanting to get back to normal, but all the decisions about taking on small risks are multiplied to become an exponential increase.


  33. - BTO2 - Friday, Oct 30, 20 @ 1:12 pm:

    I asked my senior son his opinion of possibly missing soccer and track. I want to play, if it’s safe for me, you and mom. Seeing grandpa die so fast from covid, I don’t want to chance it with you guys. Then laughed, you two are pretty old.


  34. - Flying Elvis'-Utah Chapter - Friday, Oct 30, 20 @ 1:19 pm:

    IHSA-the organization that exists simply to exist.


  35. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Friday, Oct 30, 20 @ 1:19 pm:

    @Donnie Elgin -

    Thanks for sharing the story on the report from

    [checks source material]

    The School of Sports Medicine, the same people who didn’t notice football concussions for fifty years.

    Led by

    [checks source material]

    the team doctor for The Badgers Hockey team.

    Whose scientific methodology involved

    [checks source material]

    calling 207 school districts in Wisconsin and tallying what they told him in an Excel spreadsheet.

    His “study” has been

    [checks source material]

    neither peer-reviewed nor published in a medical journal.

    …I wish I was making this up, but check for yourself. This high school-level project will never be peer-reviewed and published, because you don’t have to be an epidemiologist to understand that the football player who gets infected at the game on Friday night has infected three other people at his school by Wednesday. What you should actually see given all of the extra precautions that sports are supposedly taking is a statistically significant lower rate of infection among student athletes.

    Overarching all of this is that no one should be taking any advice on battling the pandemic from Wisconsin.

    Dane County, where Madison in located, is currently at a new case level of 581 per 100,000. The worst county in illinois right now is Douglas, with 100 new cases per 100,000.

    One thing that we ought to have learned by now about the coronavirus is that everything we assumed was safe just because there was no study proving it was unsafe turned out in most cases to be wrong.

    It turned out people without fevers could still be unsafe.

    It turned out people who were not coughing could still be unsafe.

    It turned out that being under 70 didn’t protect you. And then under 50.

    It turned out a lack of pre-existing conditions didn’t protect you.

    It turned out being indoors unmasked was still unsafe, even if you were six feet apart.

    At this point, you should assume everything that involves being indoors unmasked, or outdoors unmasked around other people, is inherently unsafe until someone proves otherwise.

    Wash your Hands. Wear a Mask. Stay six feet apart.

    @Oswego Willy - I’ve missed you, be well.


  36. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Oct 30, 20 @ 1:35 pm:

    - Yellow Dog Democrat -

    Be well, bud.

    To your point on the report;

    I looked at the simplicity of its thought.

    There’s no owning possible spread, there’s a passive recognition that infections are still happening, “but” not increasing or increased “compared to”, which seems to have a want of… “it is what it is”… as acceptable.

    But, I appreciate knowing what is out there.


  37. - Wolverine - Friday, Oct 30, 20 @ 1:36 pm:

    “No sports were found to have a higher incidence rate of COVID-19 overall than 14-17 year-olds. None of the cases among the athletes resulted in hospitalization or death”

    Read the article and the research is flawed. Notice 18 year-old athletes, who are more mobile and have more freedom, were not included in the supposed study. Let ask them to include that data and then tell us how safe it is.


  38. - Anyone Remember - Friday, Oct 30, 20 @ 1:43 pm:

    Yellow Dog Democrat -

    One little addition to your excellent post. One of the story’s reporters is from Associated Press, which in the last 40 years has become little more than a transcription service. 3 times in the last 50 years AP has said Enola Gay was the pilot, not the plane.


  39. - Graduated College Student - Friday, Oct 30, 20 @ 2:02 pm:

    I’d be fine with telling the IHSA leadership that the days of wine and roses are over. Always pegged them as idiots after I, when I was a student at a school in suburban Peoria, ran in a cross country regional in Davenport, Iowa for consecutive years, because it was “geographically central”.


  40. - Augie - Friday, Oct 30, 20 @ 2:08 pm:

    Has anyone looked into The Sports Medicine Advisory Committee that the IHSA claims thats were there getting there advice? If I am looking at the correct site there are 4 maybe 5 Dr.s total all orthopedic and sports medicine and one Chiropractor, the rest are trainers etc.
    Seems to me infectious disease spread is not there lane.


  41. - Leigh John-Ella - Friday, Oct 30, 20 @ 2:08 pm:

    LOL. “suburban Peoria”

    so Dunlap.


  42. - Unconventionalwisdom - Friday, Oct 30, 20 @ 2:18 pm:

    For anyone who knows.

    Can Pritzker legally stop the IHSA from going ahead?


  43. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Oct 30, 20 @ 2:24 pm:

    - Unconventionalwisdom -

    CPS apparently is already “out” of starting basketball.

    The liability alone… what school district is going to risk it at this point… then whoever decides… 1s and 2s might face issues.

    Then, what, sue the state?

    What school board wants to spend legal fees to “open” basketball, only to be sued for positives.


  44. - JS Mill - Friday, Oct 30, 20 @ 2:33 pm:

    =Then laughed, you two are pretty old.=

    I like your kid. You and your wife raised him well.

    =Can Pritzker legally stop the IHSA from going ahead?=

    Yes. The IHSA has no legal authority over the operations of schools. They derive any authority from their membership.

    The ISBE and IDPH and Governor have lawful authority over public schools in Illinois. This authority is enshrined in the Illinois School Code.

    When checking the school code, I do not find the IHSA bestowed with any authority. They regulate athletic competition for member schools. Not all Illinois schools are members.


  45. - Unconventionalwisdom - Friday, Oct 30, 20 @ 2:35 pm:

    @Oswego

    I understand what you said. And any school who plays is asking for big trouble.

    I just want to know Pritzker’s legal authority.


  46. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Oct 30, 20 @ 2:39 pm:

    === I just want to know Pritzker’s legal authority.===

    The governor of the state of Illinois handling a pandemic?

    A school district wants to go at this in court?

    McHenry County businesses tried today. How’d that go?


  47. - Unconventionalwisdom - Friday, Oct 30, 20 @ 3:02 pm:

    ==== I just want to know Pritzker’s legal authority.===

    The governor of the state of Illinois handling a pandemic?

    A school district wants to go at this in court?

    McHenry County businesses tried today. How’d that go?=

    So you don’t know the answer either. So why would you respond to my question?


  48. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Oct 30, 20 @ 3:07 pm:

    === So you don’t know the answer either. So why would you respond to my question?===

    (Sigh)

    How many times are folks gonna think the governor has “no legal authority” only to learn via court… he does.

    Are you ignoring loss after loss… after loss.

    If you wanna read the rulings, have at it, read the orders.

    That’s what I’m saying.

    This isn’t Siri or Google.


  49. - Pete - Friday, Oct 30, 20 @ 3:09 pm:

    In July, ISBE stated they have control of only physical education not sports and directed schools to reach out to IESA/IHSA. July 23rd letter on ISBE website.
    It was okay for Districts to make up their own mind whether to have in-person, hybrid, or remote learning for all students. Now it is not okay for a District to make that decision? Does the guidance actually say recommend or shall not?


  50. - Anonymous - Friday, Oct 30, 20 @ 3:10 pm:

    Something to think about. Stopping athletics in state could lead to much larger issues with kids traveling to play.


  51. - Graduated College Student - Friday, Oct 30, 20 @ 3:19 pm:

    ===so Dunlap.===

    Limestone, actually.


  52. - Rural Survivor - Friday, Oct 30, 20 @ 3:21 pm:

    Unfortunately it’s the lawyers that will have more impact on school decisions this year. Liability insurance probably doesn’t cover a pandemic and definitely doesn’t cover decisions that contradict public health department recommendations. I feel sorry for the students. This sucks.


  53. - Pundent - Friday, Oct 30, 20 @ 3:24 pm:

    =Stopping athletics in state could lead to much larger issues with kids traveling to play.=

    If a kid and their parents want to travel to Wisconsin, with their 27% positivity rate, to play there’s little the state can do to stop it. Hopefully the health and safety of the player, parent, and community is enough of a concern that they don’t. And as a reminder U of W isn’t playing football this weekend. They don’t have a quarterback.


  54. - Haven't picked one yet - Friday, Oct 30, 20 @ 3:29 pm:

    It’s not just one state for travel sports. We travel all over the U.S. and play. That is what they are pushing people to do. I think that is going to be worse spread than inter-conference play.


  55. - Hello - Friday, Oct 30, 20 @ 3:33 pm:

    I was just stating that people will travel out of state and not just local. That could be worse than interconference play.


  56. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Oct 30, 20 @ 3:45 pm:

    === We travel all over the U.S. and play.===

    Risking your children and your lives put others’ lives in peril.

    Its selfish, sure, but deciding that this state should propagate and encourage basketball when the NBA saw their only solution that made sense was a bubble… seems like Covidiot thinking.

    Are you testing yourself and your children 3 times a week? How about the team… testing 3 times a week?


  57. - Pundent - Friday, Oct 30, 20 @ 3:55 pm:

    =That is what they are pushing people to do.=

    Nobody’s pushing you to do that. You’re making the conscious choice despite the advice of doctors and scientists who are encouraging responsibility. Pritzker was very clear in his closing press conference remarks today. We want to get the virus under control so we can open our bars, restaurants, and schools. You stand in opposition to that. Pritzker isn’t the problem, you are. Blaming your selfishness on the governor is a cop out. Own it.


  58. - ArchPundit - Friday, Oct 30, 20 @ 4:05 pm:

    College athletes who had no or very few symptoms have experienced myocarditis. Colleges are screening for that and the Big 10 has a 21 day monitoring plan for any student athlete who tests positive.

    Who is going to pay for that testing and medical care to ensure high school athletes don’t face long term health conditions.

    Missing their last year of competitive sports is better than having a heart condition from returning to exercise too early.


  59. - ArchPundit - Friday, Oct 30, 20 @ 4:08 pm:

    === I think that is going to be worse spread than inter-conference play.

    How about the health of the young people involved? How are you monitoring for myocarditis and other conditions that even asymptomatic Covid-19 seems to increase the prevalence of?


  60. - Chicagonk - Friday, Oct 30, 20 @ 5:00 pm:

    So many medical experts commenting today. I won’t pretend to be one. I just think it’s sad that people are so easily okay with taking away some kid’s last chance to play for their school. I trust Pritzker is making the decision based off medical advice, but I don’t think this should be an easy decision.


  61. - Quenton Cassidy - Friday, Oct 30, 20 @ 5:04 pm:

    Question for the group.

    Explain to me how the family is going to sue a school district for negligence and win a finding of liability for conducting basketball games, when there was no requirement that the student participate in basketball?

    This is where I respectfully disagree with Mr. Ekl. The waivers will be meaningful if they’re written correctly, because the school district is not requiring the student athlete to participate. Conducting basketball, by itself, will not constitute negligence. If, however, the school district fails to take reasonable precautions while conducting basketball, that could be another matter.

    Additionally, simply contravening public health advice, by itself, is not grounds for a liability insurance carrier to deny coverage. If the Governor decided to prohibit basketball as a matter of Executive Order, then going forward with basketball would be a basis for denial, because the district was in violation of the law. But that is not the situation right now.


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