WHEATON, Ill. (AP) — A judge on Thursday rejected an effort by parents to put high school athletes back on the playing field, saying the Illinois High School Association is within its rights to delay sports for safety reasons.

The parents of four high school athletes sued the IHSA, saying the association violated its own rules in delaying football, boys soccer and girls volleyball. In his ruling denying a temporary restraining order, DuPage County Circuit Judge Paul Fullerton noted the COVID-19 pandemic, saying the IHSA was acting within its authority in delaying the start of fall sports.

Attorney Jeffrey Widman argued the IHSA rearranged its calendar of competition without the consent of its member schools.

Widman asserted the postponement of fall sports is harming the mental health of athletes who play those sports, and is potentially robbing some of them the opportunity to earn scholarships, especially as most other states have gone forward with their seasons.

“There is no remedy but to let them play,” he said.

IHSA attorney David Bressler asserted other executive orders issued by the governor cover competitive sports and noted no school has challenged the IHSA’s decision to postpone the sports seasons.