The state of Kentucky has been without organized high school team sports for months. What has felt like an eternity is now nearing an end, with volleyball games scheduled to take place on Aug. 24 and football games scheduled to take place on Sept. 11.
Just a few weeks ago, KHSAA commissioner Julian Tackett said in a meeting that he fully expects there to be a fall sports season. With cooperation from athletes and coaches to the recommendations and mandates, it’s really going to take place. But that is only for the fall.
“From talking with my colleagues, we all understand the significance of providing structure in a time when so much is uncertain,” said Tackett. “It is also vital that we continue to play our role in the process of helping prepare students, not for the next level of sports, but the next level of life. With that said, we also cannot underestimate the seriousness of this pandemic.”
Part of the structure for winter and spring sports is new strong recommendations and guidelines in order for them to even have a chance at a season. While it is certainly difficult to prepare as well as a normal season would go, the protection and safety is prioritized for Tackett and the rest of the KHSAA.
“We are trying to juggle the virus impact, the community impact, and the educational impact,” said Tackett in a meeting last week.
There are already strong recommendations being made and it is uncertain if this will be the last of them.
He also said in this same meeting where he discussed his new recommendations, that masks will be a requirement to attend ballgames.
Masks are already mandated at a state level, so it’s no surprise for Tackett to give a clear understanding that the same rules will apply during sporting events. Even the recommendations such as occupancy numbers are things Tackett is sure to enforce.
“Districts should begin calculating their sports facilities’ capacity in light of the latest restrictions on crowd size and occupancy,” Tackett said.
“Our membership is eager to return to competition and help our student-athletes establish some sense of normalcy in their lives. This is a critical time in the lives and development of our student-athletes, whether this is the last time they suit up for their team or if they are hoping to go on to play in college or beyond,” added Tackett.
How successful the fall sports season is, will largely determine what guidelines the winter and spring sports season will have, or if they should have it at all.
Many conferences within college football are already canceling their seasons. It’s a tough choice but one that the conferences feel necessary to protect the people involved.
The KHSAA has another meeting scheduled for Aug. 20. They will now have to discuss Governor Andy Beshear’s delaying of in person school until Sept. 28. There are though decisions to be made by the KHSAA.
It won’t look normal, but sports just being back is something all student athletes and coaches are looking forward to. Official starting practice for this upcoming fall season, starts August 24.