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The Illinois High School Association says it's beginning a pilot program for student athletes with disabilities.

Monday's announcement comes after Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan and an advocacy group for the disabled filed a federal lawsuit to force the organization to allow disabled athletes to compete in swimming and track events. It accuses the association of violating disabilities laws by not providing equal access.

A spokeswoman for Madigan says the pilot program doesn't affect the lawsuit's status.

IHSA spokesman Mat Troha says during state finals for cross country, bowling, swimming, diving and track, there'll be separate events for disabled students. The 2-year pilot program starts in the upcoming school year.

Executive director Marty Hickman says the association has been listening to stakeholders and advocacy groups about how to improve opportunities.

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