IHSAA commissioner Bobby Cox announced Thursday that the IHSAA boys basketball regionals and state gymnastics meet will go on as scheduled, but have limited fans due to the spreading COVID-19 virus.
Cox said only essential personnel and immediate family members (parents, grandparents and siblings) will be allowed at the games. Each school will be allocated 75 tickets to hand out to said people. Credentialed media are also allowed to attend the games.
“We’ve been monitoring this situation for quite some time, even before the sectional began,” Cox said. “We’ve been in constant contact with various health groups and individuals to determine what was the best course of action. Throughout the last 48 hours, things have changed. Things in our community have changed, things around the state have changed and things around the country have changed.
“We still want to provide our young people an opportunity to participate in the state finals and in a tournament series event, but we do have to restrict it.”
NorthWood plays in the 3A regional semifinal against Norwell at 10 a.m. Saturday at New Castle. Northridge plays in the 4A regional semifinal against Culver Military Academy at 10 a.m. Saturday at Michigan City.
“We’re following the rules that have been set by commissioner Cox and we are going to abide by it,” NorthWood Athletic Director Norm Sellers said. “We’re still going to give our kids the best opportunity to compete and have a good experience considering the circumstances and do the best we can.”
Sellers also said they’re in the “infancy stages” of accommodating the ticket allocation. NorthWood still plans to head down to New Castle Friday ahead of its Saturday morning game.
The IHSAA held a conference call at 2 p.m. yesterday with all the regional sites and athletic directors of schools playing in the regional. Northridge AD Dave Harms said the plans for Northridge didn’t change after that call.
“It’s one of those things where we’re in an unprecedented situation. Nobody really knows what’s going on,” Harms said. “Right now, it’s one of those things where you just wait and see what happens. We will adjust accordingly.”
There will be no pregame or postgame handshakes between players, coaches and officials.
Cox said there were thoughts of postponing or cancelling the tournament, but will not be doing so at this time.
“At the regional level, the last time I checked the Indiana Department of Health, 15 of our 16 sites have no confirmed cases in those counties,” Cox said. “I feel pretty comfortable about the regionals.”