Today there will be more clarity provided by the KHSAA Board of Control in regard to the fall sports season. Regardless of the decision, there will be someone that doesn’t agree with it. That’s to be expected, but please remember that these members are trying to make the best decision they can with the safety of the high school athletes in mind.
One idea that I think could potentially work would be if the KHSAA forced each school to make an individual decision and have all athletes and their parents or guardians sign a waiver. The waiver could state that if COVID-19 is contracted while playing sports ,the KHSAA is not liable and that the choice to play was made by the athlete and their parents. The potential of an outbreak amongst the athletes and teams is fairly high, which is why this decision has been delayed this long.
With that in mind, I think most athletes would be willing to take that risk and at that point, it becomes their and the parent’s responsibility to quarantine if necessary and keep the athletes isolated from at-risk family members.
Most athletes would be willing to make that sacrifice for a short period if it meant a season would be played. As good as that all sounds, I doubt that something like that will be put in place. I’ve been asked several times in the past couple of months, “What do you think will happen with the KHSAA and the fall season?” and my typical response goes something like this.
“I’m holding out hope, but I feel like we all need to prepare for the possibility of no fall season. The truth is that this pandemic is far from over, and with cases still in play locally, we are unlikely to start on time or start at all.”
While I feel like the loss of a season (again) would be awful for the athletes, if that is the decision that the KHSAA makes, then I have to believe that it is the right one.
On the agenda for the meeting at 11 a.m. today are items related to COVID-19 and review of data that has been provided to the Board of Control. Following that, the major parts come into play. They will look at fall season options for cross country, soccer and volleyball as a topic. Then the options for competitive cheer and dance. Lastly, they will look at the options for the fall season of football.
After decisions are made, the board will consider bylaw adjustments that may need to be made in regards to the season and scheduling limitations.
Two of the materials that were provided to the board members to read over prior to this morning’s meeting were a letter from a high school coach in Tennessee and an article in USA Today about the hurdles that college sports will face in order to have a fall season.
The letter was written by Ralph Potter, head coach at McCallie High School in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and in it, he pleads to the governing bodies to allow sports to go on as planned. He talks about the positive impact that sports provide in developing young people and the growth that individuals experience within the realm of sports.
He sums up the letter by saying, “Let the young people be raised and formed. The risk to them is minimal. Protect the most vulnerable. Be creative in our solutions to this. Please let them go to school. Let them play.”
The inclusion of this letter sparks a hope that somehow the decisions that will be made today will be positive.
In the article that is also attached, the story focuses on the different ways that a football season could take place. One option is a conference-only schedule and another is the idea of moving the sport to the spring.
So far, the Ohio Valley Conference has made a partial decision on their fall season and that may also help the KHSAA figure out a plan. They could possibly follow that route and allow teams to play within their district or region only and remove all out of region games.
On the other hand, some states have already decided to move fall sports to the spring and that could also provide an outline for the way the KHSAA operates under the pandemic.
I know I’m not the only one that is praying for a fall season for all sports. I want to continue to tell the stories of our local athletes and watch them play to the best of their ability.
By the end of the day today, at least we will know something.