BENNETT'S MINUTES: Sorting out all the different outcomes of athletic changes

Thursday, July 30, 2020

As various athletic organizations of all levels work to sort out what kinds of seasons they can salvage in this COVID-19 era, the most obvious result that has come is still a lot of unknown.

Here is a brief summary some recent developments (all of which, as well as any previous decisions, are subject to change depending upon governmental decrees and health conditions):

• The Indiana High School Athletic Association plans to proceed as scheduled with the 2020-21 fall sports season.

Girls’ golf practice begins today, with matches set to begin on Monday. All other sports may begin “official” practice on Monday.

• Marion County and the state of Illinois complicated things a little with far different rulings.

Marion County’s health department has restricted the “high contact” sports of soccer, football and volleyball to non-contact practice only for a period of two or three weeks, and will re-evaluate whether game competition can take place at that time.

An early report had indicated that all activity would be shut down until Oct. 1, but that report was either inaccurate or quickly changed after strong backlash.

Illinois took a tough stand on its athletics, moving football, soccer and volleyball to the spring months and creating a four-season schedule that will have baseball and softball competing next summer.

Why does this matter to us?

Many Indiana teams could face scheduling dilemmas due to these changes. Anyone playing an Illinois team now has a hole in its schedule where that game originally stood.

While our Putnam County teams don’t play any Illinois teams, Greencastle has a game scheduled with Park Tudor and South Putnam has its final two games of the year with Shortridge and Heritage Christian.

Hopefully things will get better and none of those games will have a problem getting played.

• The change in Illinois basketball, which now can’t start until much later in the year, is that their teams cannot play in regular-season tournaments. That affects the First Financial Wabash Valley Classic, in which Cloverdale and Greencastle will compete this year,

Marshall, Robinson and Casey-Westfield are all in the field, and since they can’t play then it’s now a 13-team event. Tourney organizers will need to find three teams willing to play in it for one year (kind of tough at this late date) or perhaps dissuade one team from competing and change the format to a 12-team field.

All in all, everyone needs to stay tuned to see which unforeseen changes will take place, and we’ll bring them to you as they happen.