Just a few months ago, many doubted that high school student-athletes would be able to participate in fall sports due to the pandemic. However, as the IHSAA prepares to enter tournament season, Commissioner Paul Neidig says about 95% of teams have played consistently and the association is now looking toward the winter sports season, working with the Indiana State Department of Health on guidelines for those sports.
In an interview with Inside INdiana Sports Host Bill Benner, Neidig said the credit for the successful start belongs at the school level.
“They have to do the contact tracing. They’ve got to make sure the facilities are clean. They’ve got to make sure the kids are in their pods so they can trace afterwards and they’ve got to make sure they’re masked up and take temps and ask questions and they do all the work,” said Neidig. “And it’s an ever-changing environment for them.”
Neidig says moving toward the championship tournaments, particularly for football, is important because of the revenue it brings in, declined though it may be because of the pandemic.
“Certainly revenue is something we have to address; we have to have money to pay officials and buy uniforms and do things for kids, but the best thing about this is the time-honored tradition of showing up on a Friday night or in a soccer uniform and having your school name across your chest and you being able to wear that and celebrate that and support that. Those are memories that you cannot recreate.”
Lucas Oil Stadium is still set to host the IHSAA football championship over Thanksgiving weekend. Neidig says meetings with stadium officials will continue leading up to the weekend in order to adjust for any changes resulting from the pandemic.