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WGLT's reporting on the coronavirus pandemic, which began in McLean County in March 2020.

CornBelters Season Start Delayed Until July 1

Young fans watching game at Corn Crib
Facebook/Normal CornBelters
The Normal CornBelters are getting set for their season season in the Prospect League.

Gov. JB Pritzker’s decision to extend Illinois' shelter-in-place rules through the end of May has prompted the Normal CornBelters' league to delay the start of its season to July 1.
CornBelters co-owner Matt Stembridge said the Prospect League wants to be ready if Illinois and the league's four other states relax social distancing this summer, but he knows the season would likely be canceled if they don't.

“That still could happen. There are certainly things that could develop as other states open up and what does our governor do,” Stembridge said. “We know that July 1 gives us the best chance to play.”

The season was scheduled to begin for the 12-team league on May 28. Each team would play 60 games.

Stembrige said the college summer league is working on condensing its season to about 45 days so its players can return to school by mid-August.

“We felt that July 1 was the best way to get the most of the season and still provide for the fan, the sponsor and the player the best experience they can have.”

National social-distancing guidelines are set to expire Thursday, though states have been establishing their own timetables. Illinois is the only state in the Prospect League that has extended shelter-in-place orders through May 30.

Indiana’s stay-at-home order expires Friday. Missouri and West Virginia plan to start reopening its economy on May 4. Ohio hasn’t set a reopening date for most types of businesses.

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Eric Stock is the News Director at WGLT. You can contact Eric at ejstoc1@ilstu.edu.