By LARRY VAUGHT
The Kentucky High School Athletic Association Board of Control could announce more specific guidelines for what lies ahead for high school sports when it meets Friday.
KHSAA commissioner Julian Tackett met with Kentucky’s Interim Joint Commission on Education Tuesday and shared a lot of insights as everyone continues to wonder about what might happen with fall sports due to COVID-19.
However, Tackett did also drop one new nugget about high school basketball.
“As we look forward to basketball, it’s actually – according to the sports medicine folks – more dangerous than football,” Tackett said. “That would surprise a lot of people, but they’re talking about vulnerability to the disease because it’s played inside – the ventilation, how long we practice, how long we play. There’s going to have to be some areas addressed there.”
First, though, there are plenty of issues for football and other fall sports who could be starting their 2020 seasons in just over a month in most cases if play is not delayed.
“We realize that we’re walking a tightrope here. There’s obviously perceived and, likely, real risks of participation in extracurricular athletics. But we are also in very many communities the No. 1 (high school) dropout prevention tool that you have,” Tackett said.
“There are people in our communities that every one of you know would not be participating if there was not an athletics or activities opportunity. We’re trying to walk that tightrope delicately.”
If you are an optimist, like Lincoln County athletics director Tim Estes, then Tackett shared some really, really good news.
“We are looking at having fall sports. We are still planning for fall sports. What that looks like could change, just like the data related to the virus changes. We are more optimistic now than perhaps a few weeks ago,” Tackett said.
More optimistic than a few weeks ago? Got to admit that surprised me knowing that Tennessee had delayed the start of its high school football season and virus numbers are rising in Kentucky. Tackett said the KHSAA monitors what’s going on in Indiana and Ohio and has seen reason for optimism. He admits there is “pessimism” when he sees what’s happening in Tennessee.
Tackett believes local school districts have handled COVID-19 numbers correctly.
“We’ve had a few districts have to stop that activity, which is exactly as the plan was designed. Address issues at the local level and not necessarily a state edict one way or another. But I will see Friday if our Board of Control feels that way,” Tackett said.