BENNETT'S MINUTES: IHSAA reopening enters final phase on Saturday

Thursday, August 13, 2020

The long-awaited full reopening of Indiana High School Athletic Association sports takes place on Saturday, when competitions can begin for all sports with fans in attendance.

Girls’ golf teams have played several matches over the past couple of weeks with seemingly few problems, although crowds are normally limited to family members walking together or on golf carts and players can easily observe social distancing.

The rest of the sports vary in their susceptibility to COVID-19.

The one thing which fans (and athletes) will need to have this fall is flexibility. Numerous events have been canceled already due to team quarantines for outbreaks.

Riverton Parke and North Central football programs are on that list (and have lost their season openers), as well as Terre Haute North boys’ cross country and Terre Haute South volleyball teams. There are undoubtedly others.

A list of scheduled events for Putnam County teams over the next three days appears to the left of this column, and the “Editor’s Note” sums up the situation pretty well. Teams may well be planning on having a contest for a certain night and find out there is a different opponent or location.

Cloverdale is going to Pike Central tonight for a football scrimmage, while South Putnam will host Indianapolis Lutheran on Saturday afternoon. Greencastle and North Putnam will not scrimmage.

Greencastle canceled its scheduled volleyball opener set for Saturday against Cascade, and Cloverdale’s match at Southmont was one of five events scheduled for Mountie teams that day which won’t be played.

There has been a lot of debate on the notion of whether quarantining/sidelining an entire team for one positive test among a team member is a necessary strategy.

Many people think just quarantining the affected person/people is sufficient. With the abundance of information available to us, both valid and invalid, it is really difficult to know what to believe.

Erring on the side of caution is never a bad thing, and many schools are utilizing this plan.

Yet another negative aspect of this nightmare is that some high school officials (who average 55 years of age, which puts many of them into the “high risk” category) are not going to be working events this year.

The possibility exists for some events to be moved to different days to accommodate the available officials, such as playing football on Thursdays or Saturdays. Stay tuned.

Coverage plans

The Banner Graphic is moving ahead with coverage as if things will progress as they normally would, even though not much is “normal” any more.

We are keeping our production schedule of Tuesday and Friday printed papers for an undetermined time, and that will affect both the pre-season football section and the publication of Friday night football results.

The football section will be printed in the middle of next week, and will be inserted into the Aug. 21 paper. Previously, the section would be in the Wednesday paper so fans had a chance to read on their favorite team well in advance of the first game.

To help fans with their pre-game reading, the stories will be put on starting Wednesday for you to see in advance.

As far as game coverage, the reorganization of the Western Indiana Conference was excellent for the teams involved but not an asset to our coverage capability. Previously, three of our four Putnam County teams played both Northview and Sullivan and good relationships with the sports editors at those papers helped us to get full-length stories on almost every game all season long played by our teams.

That will no longer be the case. Gary Hazlett and I will be covering a game each week, and we will get as many stories on our remaining games as possible. (If games are moved to a day other than Friday, we will also cover those.)

For the ones we can’t cover or get stories from, I will be monitoring each school’s MaxPreps page and once the statistics are posted there I will write a story from that information.

Those stories will all appear in Tuesday’s printed paper, but will be put online as soon as they are written.

Best of luck to us all.