Sports News

IHSAA maintains forward progress for fall sports

Even if high school football happens in Indiana on schedule, there will be more logistics to work out. Those logistics are of utmost concern to the new commissioner of the IHSAA Paul Neidig.


One of Neidig’s concerns is the number of fans that will attend each game. That has to be taken into account for social distancing and other coronavirus guidelines.


“There’s a possibility that there may be a waiver that local health departments can issue if it’s over 250 people and we’re going to be working to provide clarity to our schools on attendance numbers,” said Neidig in an interview with Greg Rakestraw (who was filling in for JMV) on 93.5 and 107.5 The Fan. “There are some interpretation things that we’ve got to get from the state, so we can provide some guidance.”


Neidig says working with Governor Eric Holcomb, the Department of Education and the Indiana State Health Department won’t be difficult.


“It’s one for all and all for one. If we have a question, we know we can reach out and get that answer. If they have a question of us and how we do things, they know they can reach out and get that answer from us,” said Neidig.


An idea that Neidig has heard mentioned by many people is pushing football to the spring and baseball to the fall. Neidig is very concerned about that scenario.


“If you take baseball and move it to the fall, kids and families that love baseball would lose two seasons in a row. I also worry about the health and safety aspect of football. If we contest the season in the spring and then let’s say we get done with our state championships in June. Then we would turn right around and start another football season 4-6 short weeks later, I’m not sure that’s best for kids and the safety of the sport,” said Neidig.


Given the unpredictability of coronavirus, Neidig understands it’s very possible some teams may play more regular-season games than others, but there will not be a minimum regular-season game requirement to play in the postseason.


“If a school is doing everything they can and the cards don’t layout or play their way, we’re going to be very flexible in allowing our member schools to play in our tournament. We have a great thing in this state where it’s an all-in tournament. Everybody that plays, gets to play in that tournament. I certainly am not going to affect that by a school or team falling one or two games short of a ‘minimum’ especially in a time like this,” said Neidig.


He says the IHSAA is ready for what he calls “starts and stops” along the way during the season.

“As we get into this fall season, we’re going to have some teams that don’t have any issues at all. We’re going to have some teams that are going to get shut down. At that point, we’ll cancel the contest. We’ll declare it a ‘no contest’ and hope everybody gets healthy and back to play as soon as possible,” says Neidig.


Neidig has been with the IHSAA since 2017, as an assistant commissioner, overseeing the sports of cross country, track and field, and boys basketball.

Indy 500 reducing to 25% capacity for next month's race

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway has made more changes for next month’s Indianapolis 500.


IMS announced Tuesday afternoon that they are reducing the maximum attendance from 50 percent capacity to 25 percent. In addition, face coverings will be required for all in attendance.


IMS says it has prepared a detailed, nearly 100-page plan that provides guidelines and protocols for how the race will be run, including the reassignment of seats for social distancing purposes, the requirement of masks, temperature checks, and distribution of hand sanitizer.


The track will stop selling tickets for the August 23 race this Friday, which will further limit the number of people who can attend.


Penske Entertainment Corp. President & CEO Mark Miles said in June that attendance would be limited to no more than 50 percent of capacity.  They are offering credits to fans who had previously purchased tickets, encouraging those over 65 to stay at home, limiting attendance in the infield,

reducing tickets in the suites and promising fans their decision to not attend would not impact their seniority or right to renew tickets for 2021.


A conference call to go over the details is scheduled for Wednesday.

IHSAA to allow virtual students to play sports

It looks like high school student-athletes that are taking online courses to start the fall semester will still be able to participate in sports.


The Indiana High School Athletic Association sent a letter to all athletic directors in Indiana, informing them of a change to a by-law. It says if a school is offering virtual or online courses this fall semester, and it’s taught by a member school personnel, they can still participate in sports.


However, “local control decision making permit a school to set a requirement above the standard set forth by the IHSAA. For instance, a school may still require in-building attendance for athletic participation.”


The letter also noted that “if a third party is delivering instruction to your students (teachers not employed by your school), and the percentage of courses being taught is over 30% of total number of courses offered, a waiver –for the school, not the athlete — is required from the IHSAA.”

Procession Tuesday night to track & field of Plymouth High School honored Coach Russ Teall

Coach Teall crossed the "Finish Line" of life, at peace, surrounded by a loving family, on Wednesday evening. He finished with a time of 72 years, 4 months, 9 days, 11 hours and 30 minutes.


Born Russell Edgar Teall in Elkhart, Indiana on February 15, 1948 at 10:35 a.m., the son of Edgar Finnus and Helen Irene (Upson) Teall, he passed away at his Plymouth home on June 24, 2020 at 10:05 p.m. He has resided in Dunlap, Indiana (22 years), Albuquerque, New Mexico (2 years) and Plymouth the past 48 years. Russ graduated from Concord High School in 1966. During his high school years, he was described as a 'late bloomer' by then track coach Dale Kelly who Russ would call a father-figure. Kelly brought out the best in Russ much like Russ has done for countless male and female student athletes at Plymouth High School. He also played varsity basketball and baseball at Concord. He would then go onto Ball State University where he received a Bachelor's Degree in secondary education in 1971 and then a Master's Degree from IUSB.


He fell in love with Jeannette Sarita Miller and the two were united in holy matrimony on February 23, 1971 in Elkhart. Always together in support of one another they were nearing a 50-year milestone. They were blessed with two adoring sons, Brian Russell Teall and Eric Eugene Teall. The family was steeped in their Christian faith as they worshiped together at the Trinity United Methodist Church in Plymouth.


Russ was incredible at balancing family life with the dedication he gave his 37-year career as a teacher and coach in the Plymouth School Corporation from 1973 - 2010. He influenced many lives in the classroom as a World History teacher and on the road as a Driver's Education instructor. He retired from teaching but remained on the track & field coaching staff until his death. There is no question Russ was a motivator and he used many methods which included "General Patton" type speeches leading his athletes to the battlefield. He preached, "Never quit. Never give up." Russ offered; "If you run track, expect to be proud. You wear the uniform not just to impress girls." He also coached multiple levels of basketball.


In 1986 he was nominated by the IATCC as Indiana’s Coach of the Year. His dual meet record stands at: 179 wins, 76 losses; three ties, Five Sectional championships, Five NLC Conference championships, Three NLC Runner-up championships, Two Goshen Relay titles and Three Goshen Relay runner-up titles.


Russ enjoyed spending time with his family, grandchildren and close friends. His Monday morning golf routine during his retirement years was the highlight of his week. He literally knew no strangers. Coach Teall always had an encouraging word to help you find a "Gear" that you didn't know you had. He truly cherished the time he spent with all his students and athletes both former and current. Russ was the prototypical "old school" teacher and coach. He believed there was no limit to achievement as long as you were willing to give a 110% of your effort.


Russ was an avid runner who completed 15 Blueberry Stomps (which he helped create) as well as completing multiple road races including the Fort Wayne and Chicago marathons. He took pride in keeping physically fit which included him actually performing along with his P.E. classes. Throughout Russ's life he was an outdoor enthusiast which mainly focused around whitetail deer hunting. He especially valued his time spent in the woods with his son Eric by his side. Russ and Jeannette enjoyed spending the last 5 winters in Florida together. Their "M.C. Gang" friends are a golden treasure.


He was a loving family man and friend. His "dash" between his starting and ending time here on Earth was full. Russ is survived by his devoted family; wife Jeannette; son Brian, wife Tabby and son Connor of Bremen and mother of Connor, Susan; son Eric, wife Wendy and children, Tucker and Rylee of Plymouth. His mother-in-law, Gladys Mast of Goshen, two sisters-in-law Jeri Elaine (Mike) Raabe of Arvada, Colorado and Charlotte Lucille (Lee) Martin of Lexington, Kentucky as well as two brothers-in-law Willis Eugene Miller of Portland, Oregon and LeRoy (Sherry) Mast of Greenfield, Indiana survive. Additionally, Russ had a close relationship with his cousins and extended family which filled his life with joy and great memories.


Visitation will be held on Monday, July 6th from 3 - 8 p.m. at the Plymouth Wesleyan Church, 11203 Michigan Road, where a tribute service will be held at 7 p.m. Tuesday evening July 7. Following the tribute service all will be invited to join in a procession to the legendary track & field of Plymouth High School where Russ spent so many years impacting lives for a twilight final lap with Coach Teall.


Burial will take place in the New Oak Hill Cemetery, Plymouth at a later date.


In remembrance of Russ and his teaching/coaching career, a preferred memorial gift may be made to the 'Coach Teall Scholarship Fund' at the Marshall County Community Foundation, 2680 Miller Drive, Suite 120, Plymouth, IN 46563.


The family greatly appreciates the many prayers, words of support and acts of kindness shown them during Russ's amazing life on this earth.

IMS doubleheader

It's a first of it's kind. A double-header event with IndyCar and NASCAR sharing a venue in one weekend for the first time ever.  Couple that with the first-ever race on the road course at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway that will feature stock cars. The NASCAR Xfinity Series will run the Penzoil 150 on the road course on Saturday.


Xfinity Series regular Justin Allgaier, who has won on the IMS oval in the series, said it's big deal.

"To win the first one, of any event, is always a big deal. It's super important," Allgaier said. "I think a lot of the teams and a lot of the drivers put a lot of pressure on themselves to be able to do that."

"Indianapolis is Indianapolis," he added. "It just has a different atmosphere around it. The track has so much history and so much standing in world racing history. To go there and win the inaugural race would be super special."


Today, Xfinity car will turn laps in two practice sessions. Normally, NASCAR would not allow drivers and teams to practice because of the coronavirus pandemic. But, since this is the first time stock cars will run on the road course at IMS, NASCAR officials felt it warranted some practice time.

"If we're allowed to watch, I can't wait," said IndyCar driver Conor Daly. "I think it's going to be great. Those guys, I've been getting a lot of texts from different Xfinity guys about the track. I know it will be totally new for them. But I'm excited."


The weekend will be the second race of the season for the NTT IndyCar Series with he GMR Grand Prix, rescheduled from the month of May. It will be the first road course test in competition for the newly implemented aeroscreen. The series ran its first race with the aero screen at Texas almost a month ago.


"Texas was an eye-opener for a lot of us, I think," said Team Penske driver Simon Pagenaud. "We realized after the race there was a lot of improvement to be made, but not enough time to really think about what we could do on-site. Obviously, it's the same for the road course in Indy. We don't really know yet what's going to need change."


The GMR Grand Prix will be the first race to go on Saturday with the green flag dropping at Noon EDT. The Xfinity Series Penzoil 150 will follow at 3:00 p.m. EDT.


The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series will have the stage to itself on Sunday with the Big Machine Handsanitizer 400, more commonly known as the Brickyard 400.


"It is a great situation for all three series’ to be together and a huge step for racing," said Cup series driver and two-time Brickyard winner Kevin Harvick. "As you look at IndyCar and Xfinity and Cup cars all at the same venue because we are all racers. We all want to see racing be successful and I think this is definitely a great step for both series."


Harvick will start 11th on Sunday after NASCAR's blind draw to set the field since there will be no practice or qualifying.


Joey Logano of Team Penske will start on pole at his team owner Roger Penske's home track. Kurt Busch will join him in second on the front row followed by Alex Bowman, Jimmie Johnson, Aric Almirola, Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch, Martin Truex, Jr., Brad Keselowski, and Chase Elliot in the subsequent rows.


Green flag for the Brickyard 400 drops at 4:00 p.m. EDT on Sunday.