WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – The Kansas State High School Activities Association could delay the start of winter sports competitions.
Under the proposal, the practice schedule would continue as is but would stop between December 23rd and January 3rd. Activities would not start until January 15. When that happens fans would not be allowed at least for a couple of weeks.
The KSHSAA Executive Director says Tuesday’s decision is not taken lightly, but the board of directors is trying to do what is best for students, schools, and all of Kansas.
“Families are going to travel. They’re going to gather together, and they’re going to come back to their respective school communities and that increases the likelihood of the potential transmission of COVID-19 and the increase that we’re seeing right now certainly across the state of Kansas is an indicator that things aren’t going well,” said Bill Faflick.
One coach in the USD 259 school district says his students have been wearing masks and practicing safely to make sure they can play on December 3rd when the season starts.
“You practice so you can play the game,” said Joe Auer, Wichita Heights Head Basketball Coach.
With state championships and McDonald’s All Americans, Wichita Heights basketball has been a banner of success. This year, success for Heights is heightened safety precautions.
“Splitting up about every seven minutes, checking temperatures, asking a lot of questions when the kids arrive,” Auer explained.
The season starts for USD 259 next week unless KSHSAA benches the idea until January, something USD 259 Athletic Director Jay Means is preparing for.
“Yes, do I want to see kids competing, certainly, but we still have to worry about safety, and it is one of those where there are no good answers. There is no right answer or no wrong answers,” Means explained.
If the season is delayed, it could mean cutting the varsity basketball season down to 13 games and with no fans allowed for the beginning of the season.
“Everybody is of the mindset that we will do whatever we have to do to give our kids the opportunity to have a season,” Auer said.
If KSHSAA decides to delay the season, instead of playing next week, school districts will be preparing just like students have been preparing to suit up.
“If we have to put that on hold then we will start having meetings next week and figure out what we do with the schedule,” Means adds.
“We believe this is one of the safest places our young people can be, at school and competing,” Auer adds.
Between the different levels of district sports, different sports are affected differently. Below is the full proposal and what you need to know about your students and their team.
The KSHSAA Board of Directors will discuss these proposals during a special meeting to be held virtually, November 24th at 1:00 pm. Details of the meeting will be sent to the Board of Directors.
· Delay competitions for all winter activities until Friday, January 15.
· Allow virtual competition only in Debate and Scholars Bowl.
· Winter activity practice may continue where appropriate to do so through December 22. All KSHSAA risk mitigation protocols strictly enforced.
· Extend Winter Moratorium. Dec. 23 – Jan. 3; practices to resume Jan. 4; restrictions eliminate contact between coach/athlete/school and no school facility use.
· Tentative resumption of competition on January 15.
· No fans for competition, January 15-28.
· Limited fans Jan. 29 through remainder of winter competitions.
· Mandatory universal masking with exception to athletes in competition and officials during live action.
· No invitational tournaments.
High School Competition Limits:
· Basketball maximum 13 games per team.
· Bowling maximum 8 days per team/individual.
· Swimming and Diving maximum 6 competitions per athlete.
· Wrestling maximum 12 events, 20 competition point max.
Middle School Restrictions:
· No competition in December, practice only.
· No competition Jan. 1 – Jan. 14
· No events with more than three schools participating.
· Strongly encourage skill development.
· Strongly encourage intramural play only.
· Limit two fans per player starting Jan. 15.