By LARRY VAUGHT
On Friday Kentucky High School Athletics Association commissioner Julian Tackett said “we’re playing this fall” without indicating exactly what that might mean for sports such as football, soccer, cross county and volleyball.
“We don’t know what it’s going to look like, but we’re going to,” Tackett said during a KHSAA meeting.
Later the KKSAA Board of Control decided not to let teams start practice in mid-July as normal and keep current guidelines due to COVID-19 in place until at least Aug. 2.
However, a lot has to go right for there to be high school sports. Just today I read where the Lexington Herald-Leader reported that nine football players and one assistant coach at Hazard High School — who had all used the same weight room — tested positive for COVID-19 and athletic team workouts have been suspended there just like they have been at Russell, Pike County and Clay County schools. Perry County has also had a coach test positive.
Earlier this week the New Mexico Athletic Association called off football and soccer this fall with volleyball, cross county and other sports likely to have a delayed start
The release read:
“The New Mexico Activities Association will be postponing both the 2020 football and soccer seasons to the spring semester. Although the NMAA and its member schools were hopeful that all interscholastic sports and activities could resume as originally scheduled this August, the continued coronavirus pandemic and resulting public health concerns have forced the association to consider adjustments for the 2020-2021 school year.”
“The NMAA has been working with its membership on contingency plans in preparation for this scenario and will continue to do so in an effort to ensure all sport seasons can be played this academic year. A tentative plan should be available on or around July 15th.”
Tackett said Friday individual sports likely won’t start at the same time in Kentucky this year and that some seasons are likely to be delayed.
On the college level, the Big Ten, Atlantic Coast Conference and Pac-10 have all indicated they will play only conference games this season — which will eliminate expensive payouts to lower level teams for playing road games against the marquee conferences.
The Southeastern Conference could make a similar decision Monday. But SEC commissioner Greg Sankey said Saturday on ESPN Radio that he’s not optimistic about the upcoming college football season. That’s a huge warning shot considering what football means in the South.
“We put a medical advisory group together in early April with the question, ‘What do we have to do to get back to activity?’ and they’ve been a big part of the conversation,” Sankey said on ESPN Radio. “But the direct reality is not good and the notion that we’ve politicized medical guidance of distancing, and breathing masks, and hand sanitization, ventilation of being outside, being careful where you are in buildings.
“There’s some very clear advice about — you can’t mitigate and eliminate every risk, but how do you minimize the risk? We are running out of time to correct and get things right, and as a society we owe it to each other to be as healthy as we can be.”
And it seems chances are increasing every day that keeping everyone healthy might well mean no football this fall at the high school or collegiate level.