By Brad Spencer
Prompted to begin a sports program for student athletes with disabilities by a Fenwick High School swimmer, the Illinois High School Association announced on Monday it will begin a two-year pilot program.
Illinois Attorney Gen. Lisa Madigan and an advocacy group for the disabled filed a federal lawsuit against the IHSA last month after Fenwick's Mary Kate Callahan was not allowed to compete at the state level. Callahan, a senior swimmer from Western Springs who is paralyzed from the waist down, competes in the 200-meter freestyle.
The IHSA announced the pilot program will now offer separate events in which disabled students can compete. The terms and conditions approved at Monday's IHSA board meeting were in girls swimming & diving and boys and girls cross-country.
In addition, the board extended the deadlines for schools to enter athletes into these events until Oct. 10.
"This is incredibly important step in providing these important programs," said IHSA Executive Director Marty Hickman. "We hope that the release of these terms and conditions provides clarity for our member schools and their athletes on how this process will work moving forward."