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Ivy decision to sideline Central star

WHEELING — The Ivy League is best known for its glowing academic reputation. The league, composed of eight private universities in the Northeast, has also become a leader when it comes to being proactive with athletics.

The Ivy League was the initial conference in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, being the first league to drop out of March basketball tournaments. It was an exit move that proved a forerunner of college basketball closure for 2020.

Now, the Ivy League has taken a drastic step in regards to the upcoming football season.

The Ivy League hierarchy has been considering two possible changes for the 2020 football season.

The first was a seven-game campaign that features only in-conference games.

The second proposal, however, was far more drastic with possible wide-ranging national ramifications. That option called for the shutting down of football entirely until spring 2021. Under this plan, the Ivy League teams would begin football practice in March and play seven in-conference games between April and mid-May.

On Wednesday, league officials announced their anxiously-awaited decision. It was a tweaked version of the second option as the Ivy League has canceled all sports this fall, due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Ivy braintrust has made no decision on whether to move fall sports to spring.

The move to halt football impacts one local grid star.

Wheeling Central’s Curtis McGhee III is a prized Brown University grid recruit. The multi-talented gridder helped lead the Maroon Knights to three successive state championships.

His final season, however, was truncated after seven games when the star quarterback incurred an ACL injury. Now fully recovered, McGhee is headed to the Providence-based institution with high hopes of playing safety for the Bears.

As senior, McGhee recorded 39 tackles and picked off two passes from his safety post. He posted huge quarterbacking numbers as a junior, passing for over 2,300 yards and 33 touchdowns. The all-stater also rushed for 842 stripes and 11 more TDs.

The Ivy League’s decision didn’t come as a surprise to McGhee, but was still disappointing.

“We kind of knew in advance that this decision was coming. We have been hearing rumors that football may not happen this fall,” McGhee said in a phone interview Wednesday night. “It is disappointing. I have been working out and my knee is 100 percent. I will be totally cleared on July 28. I injured it on Oct. 18, so now I may go almost two years without playing a game.

“We had a team Zoom meeting Wednesday after the decision was announced. Coach (head coach James) Perry didn’t give us a lot of information. He said more would be coming in the next few days,” the Maroon Knight star added. “He did tell us to keep any negative stuff off social media.”

Brown has a unique academic format. With Ivy football now another coronavirus victim, McGhee, along with his Bear teammates, will not be reporting to the Rhode Island campus until January.

“We will be taking one class (online) this semester. Then we report Jan. 21 and our freshmen year will continue until Aug. 15. So I will be going four straight semesters before getting a break. I am sticking with my decision to continue my career at Brown,” when asked if he harbored thoughts of going elsewhere. “I think the odds are slim if we play in the spring. I am not sure any college football will be played this year.”

McGhee’s rehab work has added 16 quality pounds to his 6-3 frame. He said he plans on majoring in business-econ. McGhee comes from a tremendous athletic family as dad Curtis starred at Pitt while his uncle, Eric, played at Bowling Green.

Brown struggled through a 2-8 season last fall, going 1-6 in conference play. Perry, a former Bears’ grid star, is in his second year as head coach.

The Bears were scheduled to kick off the 2020 campaign on Sept. 19, hosting Bryant.

In addition to Brown, Ivy League members are Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Dartmouth, Cornell, Princeton and Penn.

BUILT DIFFERENT

BUILT DIFFERENT is staging a baseball and softball camp at the Highlands Sports Complex this month. In addition, a high school baseball showcase will be offered.

The baseball and softball camp will be held on Tuesday, July 21 and Wednesday, July, 22 from 9 a.m. till noon each day. The showcase is set for 1-3 p.m. the same days. The camp is for ages 6-13 while the showcase is for ages 14-18 baseball.

The camp will consist of hitting, fielding and agility instruction. There will be competition drills and awards given out throughout the camp. A Built Different hat and shirt will be given to each camper/showcase player.

The showcase will consist of – Pitchers: bullpen, velocity, 30-yard shuttle; Position players/catchers: BP, exit velocity, 60-yard dash, arm velocity, pop time, 5-10-5s.

Drop-off time for camp starts at 8:15 a.m. while pickup ends at 12:15 p.m. The showcase drop-off starts at 12:30 p.m. and pickup ends at 3:15 p.m.

Cost is $50 which can be paid at the door. Checks should be made payable to Built Different LLC. Advance registration is available online at Builtdifferentllc.com under “Camps.”

For more information, call 304-650-5655.

SONS GOLF

THE SONS of Italy held its 21st annual golf tournament at Oglebay Park on June 21.

The winners were: First place, Paul Gulla team (53); second place, Bodnar Florist (56); third place, Joe Husek team (56).

Closest-to-the-pin: No. 2, Jim Ault; No. 5, Muck Gulla; No. 7, James Wallace; No. 10, Ron Helms; No. 13, Steve Keding.

Skins: No.7, Bob Wallace team; No. 11, Paul Gulla team; No. 14, Paul Gulla team; No. 17, Bob Wallace team.

Phil Pata was the tournament director.

BUBBA’S BITS

¯ DOM CAVICCHIA recorded a hole-in-one July 3 at Fairway River Links. The Colerain resident used a pitching wedge to ace the 105-yard par 3 No. 5 hole. The shot was witnessed by Bruce West and George Anderson.

¯ IF THE Washington Redskins finally change their nickname, I vote for the Monuments as the replacement.

¯ THE MOVE to change offensive nicknames isn’t just a professional or collegiate issue. It has also made its presence felt on the prep level. The Forest Hills Board of Education, which oversees Cincinnati Anderson, has voted to drop Redskins as its nickname. Martins Ferry High grad Vince Suriano enjoyed a long and successful head grid coaching career at Anderson. Meanwhile, Shady Side Academy in Pittsburgh is dropping Indians as its nickname.

¯ FORMER WVU hoopster Chase Harler was named to the Big 12 Conference Spring Commissioner’s Honor Roll. The former Wheeling Central great capped his collegiate career with a 4.0 GPA in his final semester.

¯ JERRY SNODGRASS is a class act who did a masterful job of running the Ohio High School Athletic Association. He was dealt a bad hand when he was forced out as the OHSAA’s executive director Tuesday. I have had many dealings with him – in person, on the phone and via e-mail. He always had time for anyone who needed him. His removal has triggered a tidal wave of support in his behalf. The OHSAA Board of Directors, headed by Noble County Superintendent Dan Leffingwell, obviously has its own agenda. Snodgrass did his job exceedingly well. The board’s decision makes no sense, especially factoring in these uncertain times in regards to the status of fall sports.

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