By LARRY VAUGHT
I heard from a lot of parents/coaches after my story Sunday about the Kentucky High School Athletic Association extending the dead period indefinitely and whether student-athletes would risk their 2020-21 eligibility by playing in golf tournaments, tennis tournaments, basketball games or anything else even if they were not school related.
One father said he was told if his daughter played eighth-grade travel basketball she would not be eligible next season.
Another father from eastern Kentucky shared this with me:
“From our understanding they (KHSAA) are trying to prevent any kid who has ever played middle or high school from doing anything until they lift the dead period. It’s gearing up for baseball and softball travel season soon and there are no telling how many kids that play in the surrounding states that are opening up. I think Tennessee will start having tournaments first and they will start in May.
“I think the KHSAA is on as much of a power trip as the governor. So they are threatening the kids with their eligibility but honestly, how can they really enforce it? I understand the original dead period when we didn’t know much and some coaches quite frankly would have tried to do things to put their kids in a bad spot. But since they cancelled the seasons, how can they expect kids to do nothing? They say you can’t even take private lessons? Really? Even through Zoom or Skype? Again, how is it enforceable? And if kids start playing out of state tournaments, are they really going to penalize a school by banning half or more of the team?
“It’s a slippery slope. These older kids have scholarship opportunities that they’ll only get by being seen in showcase tournaments. Are we going to mess that up for them too? I’m really angry about all this.I have a kid who is affected by this and we will have some tough decisions ahead of us I’m afraid.”
A high school coach told me he was afraid to give instruction — not on school property — to athletes who wanted to work on their skills.
Slippery slope seems a fair evaluation here because KHSAA commissioner Julian Tackett is trying to follow state and federal safety guidelines while parents/coaches value safety but also worry about scholarship possibilities, improving skills and safety, too.
Tackett has promised to monitor the situation daily — and I believe him. Hopefully there is a way soon for some return to normalcy because clearly there is a wide variety of opinions on what needs to be done sports-wise.