BY JIM MISUNAS
TOPEKA – A 5-4 vote by the nine-member KSHSAA Executive Board, will allow all fall Kansas high school sports activities to begin as scheduled for the 2020-21 school year.
Fall practices can start Aug. 17.
Local school districts retain the right to modify the start dates for practice or competition based on their local and county health recommendations. The KSHSAA shut down high school sports March 12 due to the threat of the coronavirus.
The Executive Board voted on a proposal to delay competition for football, boys soccer, volleyball and gymnastics no earlier than Sept. 8. A “Yes” vote would’ve delayed the start of competition. A “No,” vote allowed no delays for fall competition.
Sublette Principal Monty Marlin, Parsons’ Mike Kastle, Salina’s Deanna Horst and Southern Cloud’s Roger Perkins, Southern Cloud voted “Yes,” for the proposal that would’ve shortened all of the fall activities.
Marlin liked the one-week delay.
“They’ve come up with a fair compromise,” Marlin said. “We could have issues once we get started.”
Horst emphasized the uncertainty everyone faces.
“We need to be flexible,” Horst said. “It’s a fluid situation.”
Hill City Principal Alan Stein, Rose Hill Principal Shannon Haydock, Cheney’s Greg Rosenhagen, Salina South’s Ken Stonebraker and Olathe North’s Jason Herman voted “No,” on the proposal, which kept KSHSAA activities on its regular schedule.
Herman likes the fact everything stays on schedule with flexibility for local districts.
“Local schools can make that adjustment,” Herman said. “We’ve got a plan that preserves the integrity of winter sports.”
Stein said, “We have an opportunity to keep moving forward. Hopefully, we don’t have a setback.”
Haydock wasn’t to start practice on time, saying, “You’re taking more opportunities away if you delay the season.”
The KSHSAA considerations for fall activities released on July 22 are still in effect.
KSHSAA Director Bill Faflick said the committee was charged with assessing risk.
“We need to minimize the risk and we need to assess those risks,” Faflick said. “If the risks are too much, the choice to not participate is OK. We want the students to benefit. We want students and coaches to work together.”
A survey indicated 36% of schools will open Aug. 24 and 32% will open Aug. 17. Sept. 8 (16%) and Sept. 1 (12%) were other expected start dates.
Faflick said the fall calendar will go week-by-week.
“We can’t guarantee state championships,” Faflick said. “You can’t regulate social distancing in football or soccer. We’re faced with difficult challenges. I know we’ll step up to the challenges.”