By LARRY VAUGHT
For selfish reasons, Nathan McPeek really wants there to be a 2020 high school football season.
“We have a very good senior class and selfishly I would hate not to play this year,” said the Frederick Douglas High School coach during his appearance on WPBK-FM Thursday morning. “It won’t hurt high end guys (with college opportunities) but we have some kids that this will likely be the last time they put on the pads and I know it is the same with everybody in the country.
“Obviously safety is the No. 1 concern for everybody. We have a team that could win it (state championship). You can’t say that every year. I would hate not to play but at the end of the day you have got to be safe and do what is best for everybody.”
Fayette County announced Thursday that it would start school virtually which certainly could sports even more in limbo even if the Kentucky High School Athletic Association does decide next week that there will be a high school football season.
“I am sure there are a lot of different plans but we will do what our superiors ask us to do for the safety of our kids,” McPeek said.
Remember he has SIX players on his roster with scholarship offers from Kentucky, including receiver Dekel Crowdus who has already committed to UK and offensive lineman Jager Burton, the state’s top-rated recruit.
KHSAA commissioner Julian Tackett has said schools that are open virtually will not be automatically banned from participating in sports. Instead, that will be a decision by local schools boards.
“I know it is a hard statement to wrap your brain around if you have no in-person school and yet play football or other sports,” McPeek said. “Safety of kids has to be No. 1.”
That means it might be safer for a sports team in a controlled setting to play than it is to have a school building full of students. That’s a decision each school system will have to possibly make.
Frederick Douglas football had a player test positive for COVID-19 on July 6. He only had “mild” symptoms and Frederick Douglas followed protocols already set. Players in his 10-player pod stayed away for 14 days and McPeek says all are back good to go now.
“Everybody is going to have to deal with this across the country,” McPeek said. “It’s going to happen. But the protocol worked. We have every kid wear a mask inside our facilities. We don’t let anyone in the weight room without a mask on. You have to follow those guidelines.”
The KHSAA Board of Control is scheduled to meet Tuesday to consider what steps are next for fall sports, including football. Some states are shortening schedules and starting practices/games later. Some are proceeding with no delays. Some has called off the fall sports seasons.
“I have heard discussions that we may be able to get ready (to play games) in three weeks (of regular contact practice),” McPeek said. “To me, that’s the minimum. I would prefer four or five weeks but this is not a normal year.
“For us with our roster size, three weeks is feasible because we don’t have a lot of guys that play both ways. With schools that have a lot of players going both ways it might be harder. But whatever the decisions are, that’s what we will do because as much as I might want to play, safety has to be first.”