Geneseo Administrators comment on Hoops Happening

by Claudia Loucks correspondent
Joe Nichols
Travis Mackey

TRAVIS MACKEY – GHS PRINCIPAL AND IHSA BOARD MEMBER

The IHSA has given basketball the green light at area schools.

At their meeting on Jan. 27, the IHSA board members set the sports calendar for the remainder of the school year.

With that decision, many coaches have their players in the school gyms practicing for their first competitions set for February.

Travis Mackey, GHS principal who also serves on the IHSA board, said “The Board adhered to its stated goals throughout the pandemic of providing an opportunity for every student-athlete to compete safely this year and maximizing opportunities for traditional IHSA spring sports after they lost their entire season a year ago.”

The school calendar calls for basketball games to be played through March 13. There will not be state tournament games.

According to the IHSA guidelines, schools in Phase 4 mitigations are allowed a maximum of 50 spectators, but each school/conference can set its own guidelines.

Mackey said GHS will continue to follow the Illinois Department of Health guidelines “as well as the Sports Medicine Committee to insure the safest atmosphere we can for our students and fans. There will be limitations to how many we can have at the event, but we are working closely with Keith Kennett and TV 50 to provide coverage at our home contests.”

He added, “We will continue to monitor the social distancing and adapt to any changes so our students will continue to have the best opportunity to safely have as many contests as allowed.”

JOE NICHOLS- ATHLETIC DIRECTOR AT GHS

Geneseo High School Athletic Director Joe Nichols described the current status with sports as “exciting times for out student-athletes and we are fortunate to be playing when we thought only a little over a week ago that these sports wouldn’t happen.”

“First, it is a tremendous feeling to know our student-athletes will get the opportunity to play out their seasons this year,” Nichols said. “We have been asking for this for a long time now and it has finally come together.”

Even though he knows there is a lot more work to get done, Nichols said, “If you are in this profession you are not doing a job, you are living a lifestyle. This has been like

being brought back to life for a lot of us, and we are eager to work our tails off to get the players every opportunity we can.”

“When the IHSA announced the modified calendar, we immediately began working as a conference to secure schedules for those sports that started immediately (gymnastics, bowling and basketball),” he said. “Over the course of about 24 hours, we were able to build basketball schedules and adjust the others. We began talking through the logistics of hoisting games during a pandemic and the unique challenges those bring.”

He added that those conversations are ongoing and when this information was provided, it was not known if spectators would be allowed.

Nichols said all players and coaches will be required to wear a mask at games whether they are in the game or not…”If spectators are allowed, they would be required they would be required to wear a mask at all times and sit socially distanced from anyone not in their household. Spectators would be required to be at lest 30 feet from the sidelines or playing area and are limited to a total of 50. This makes it impossible for them to attend in some venues and difficult in most. It is already clear that if any spectators are going to be allowed, it would be only the home team with a limited number per player.

The guidelines are clear that the general public will not be allowed to attend the competitions at this time, but those games may be streamed.

“It is unfortunate, but, the general public will not be allowed to attend at this time,” Nichols said. “Because of the limits placed on spectators, we are going to put an emphasis on trying to stream every game or match we host in Geneseo, so our fans can see them. We will utilize our social media feeds and TV50 (Western Big Six Network) to cover these games. Many of our opponents will stream home games, as well, so our fans can still see us on the road….We feel like our connection to our community is vital to our Athletic Success, and we want to try and be able to keep those connections even if they have to be through a computer screen.”