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J. Thomas McNamara

    Mel Roustio earns every cent the Decatur school district pays him to serve as tournament coordinator.
    Here’s the latest example.
    Last Wednesday, five days before the 51st annual tournament was to begin, he received a call from the Champaign Central athletic director  Jane Stillman asking if it could break its contract to play Wednesday night in the tournament because of COVID-19 among the basketball team.
    That’s when the Maroons were scheduled to play MacArthur.
    Stillman did not respond to two requests for comments on why Central wanted to withdraw at this late date.
    Roustio, MacArthur AD Jason Crutcher, Thornton coach Tai Streets and others went to work calling anyone and everyone they knew to find a replacement for Champaign Central. Streets was calling everyone he knew in the Chicago public league for Mel.
     Roustio even thought out loud that Bolingbrook if it has a good junior varsity team they could bring them and play in Central’s spot.
      And Bolingbrook’s Brost is bringing his junior varsity team to fill Central’s position.
       Here’s Roustio’s explanation:  “Wednesday, November 17 early afternoon, I was notified that Champaign Central was withdrawing from the tournament due to several players testing positive to COVID-19.
        “Several people spent the next several hours seeking a replacement team out of Chicago and St. Louis to no avail.
        “Rather than facing three byes during bracket play, Rob Brost came to the rescue agreeing to bring a JV team to fill in for Champaign.
      “The IHSA school association explained the process to make this okay. 1) Bolingbrook’s JV team must be under contract and 2) they cannot mix and match players but declare a JV team and play only those athletes. 3) At the end of the season any team that plays Bolingbrook’s JV team must declare in their IHSA report.
     “These are unprecedented times calling for unusual methods and adjustments to give our youth the best we can. I hope you can all appreciate these efforts and again, I thank Bolingbrook.”
     I will have more on this developing story in a future print edition of the Decatur Tribune.

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