IHSAA limits boys basketball regional games to 250 people


There may not be near as many fans at the regional games as the players were expecting.

That’s not to say, however, they won’t be cheering from afar.

Today, IHSAA Commissioner Bobby Cox announced the remaining games in the boys basketball state tournament will continue as scheduled but with limited spectators in attendance as Indiana seeks to prevent the spread of the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19), according to a news release.

Regional games are scheduled for Saturday at 16 sites around the state. Locally, Crothersville is playing in the Class A Loogootee Regional, Brownstown Central is playing in the Class 3A Greencastle Regional and Seymour is hosting a Class 4A regional.

Using the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidance regarding large gatherings, the IHSAA will limit games to approximately 250 individuals.

Each of the four participating schools at each site will be allotted only 75 complimentary tickets aside from the 12 dressed players and to include only essential personnel, coaches, administrative staff and immediate family of players. Cox said the family members include parents, siblings and grandparents.

Each school’s principal and athletic director will help host sites ensure eligible individuals enter the gymnasiums, and there will be separate entrances for the schools at each site, Cox said.

Fans will be spread out in the gymnasium, and there will be no pregame or postgame handshakes between the teams or officials, Cox said.

Media will only be admitted with credentials from the IHSAA. Regional games will continue to be streamed online at ihsaatv.org and its affiliates as well as previously approved broadcast stations.

“Our primary focus has been and will continue to be the health and safety of our students and supporters attending our events,” the IHSAA stated in the news release. “Given the recent and ongoing spread of the coronavirus and available information surrounding the pandemic, the IHSAA will conclude all winter tournament series events as scheduled with limited to no spectators in attendance.”

Individuals who are at higher risk for the disease as defined by the CDC are strongly encouraged to refrain from attendance, the IHSAA said. That includes older adults and people who have serious chronic medical conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes and lung disease.

Cox said IHSAA tournaments have been postponed because of weather and an energy crisis but never for a health pandemic of this nature.

When asked about the potential economic impact of limiting spectators, Cox estimated it will cost the IHSAA about a half-million dollars.

“The association acknowledges these are unprecedented measures and is sympathetic to the loyal fans of education-based athletics in Indiana,” the IHSAA said. “Your understanding and support during these challenging times is appreciated.”

Anyone holding a regional ticket will be issued a full refund at the point of purchase. Individuals must present the ticket(s) in order to receive a refund.

“We regret that nonvarsity boys basketball participants, cheerleaders, dance teams, school mascots and pep bands may not attend the games,” the IHSAA said. “This measure is to protect the health and safety of the student-athletes, their families and the public at large.”

Seymour High School Athletic Director Kirk Manns said Saturday’s regional games at the Lloyd E. Scott Gymnasium are not open to the general public and no tickets are being sold.

Brownstown Central High School Athletic Director Mark DeHart said he feels the IHSAA put together a pretty good plan, even though it’s not what everybody would want.

“At this point, for the kids’ standpoint, I feel fortunate that they are going to get to play,” he said. “I know the circumstances aren’t perfect. I know they’d like to play in front of a large crowd. … I know that just adds a lot to the atmosphere, but right now, I just feel like we’re fortunate that they are going to be able to play.”

Greg Kilgore, Crothersville’s boys basketball coach and athletic director, said it was difficult to learn all of the Tigers’ fans won’t be able to be at the regional.

“As many fans as we were going to take and as many that wanted to be able to be there, I really feel like the whole town and a lot of people from outside the town and state were going to try to come because it’s the first time it has ever happened,” he said, as the team won the first boys sectional title in school history last weekend and is playing in its first regional.

The Tigers are used to playing in the small confines of their home gymnasium, so Kilgore said the smaller crowd Saturday might play to their advantage in terms of lessening the nerves, rather than playing in a gym with thousands of fans.

“We’ll take every positive spin on it that we can, which as a coach you do with good or bad news,” he said.

Soon after today’s announcement, a post appeared on the Town of Crothersville Facebook page.

“The IHSAA decision is not a happy one, but do not let it dampen our spirits,” the post read. “We will send these boys off knowing that they have an entire town and then some that is proud of them and has their back. I have a feeling Crothersville is going to be loud Saturday with all the fans rooting for our Tiger boys.”

Ticket refunds for Brownstown Central fans will be issued during normal school hours, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., beginning Friday.

Ticket refunds for Crothersville fans will be issued during normal school hours, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., beginning Monday.

At both schools, enter through the main entrance. You must have your ticket to be issued a refund.

Find the story in Friday’s Tribune.

No posts to display