College, prep sports representatives prepare for changes due to COVID-19
WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - The first day of the fall sports season for high schools across Kansas is Aug. 17. The plans to begin practices as scheduled remain in place for now, although it’s unclear if the season will be able to start on time.
The discussion continues on considerations for the high school level as the National Junior College Athletics Association voted Monday (July 13) to move most of its fall sports, including football, to spring. While there are no drastic schedule-changing plans for high school sports in Kansas, Friday will bring a better picture of how the fall might look.
With the move of football, men’s and women’s soccer and volleyball to spring at the NJCAA level, Hutchinson Community College Athletic Director Josh Gooch said the change is the best right now. He said this could also change things for the next few years.
“There is no playbook. I tell people often, we are writing the playbook now,” Gooch said.
The changes include what the spring months could look like logistically for schools like Hutchinson Community College.
“In the month of March, we could have nine different contests going on at the same time,” Gooch said. “We’ll still have to be flexible and be patient as we work through the scheduling, but it gives us some finality as to, ‘are we going to compete in the fall, or are we not going to compete in the fall?‘”
The news from the junior college level comes days before we will see the first set of guidelines for high school sports in Kansas.
“We’re preparing that detail and we plan to share that with schools on Friday (July 17),” KSHSAA Executive Director Bill Faflick said. “This would not be a significant change from what we had shared previously.”
While Faflick said there hasn’t been much change from guidelines already under consideration for a while now, he shared that there was discussion of moving certain activities to different seasons. But for now, there are now plans to do that.
“The uncertainty of COVID-19 and its impact on our schools has led us not to make that drastic of a decision at this point in time,” he said. “It is a resort, but it is a last resort.”
Part of the discussion not to move high school sports in Kansas to different seasons is an effort to help keep spring sports on the calendar after they were wiped out altogether earlier this year when school buildings across the state closed.
Faflick said getting guidelines to KSHSAA member schools by mid-July is important so they have time to prepare to move forward.
At the top college football level (NCAA Division I), adjustments in the Big 10 and Pac-12 conferences include moves to only play conference games before the postseason. A similar decision is anticipated from other major conferences, but as of Monday, the Big 12 is among conferences yet to make a formal announcement on plans for the upcoming season.
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