On Thursday afternoon via a Zoom video teleconference, the Kentucky High School Athletic Association and its 18 voting members took the first steps into restarting activities for the Commonwealth’s student-athletes — a move long anticipated since the 2020 spring season was canceled and a dead period instituted on March 16 due to the coronavirus.
With more than 1,000 viewers on hand through the KHSAA’s YouTube channel, KHSAA commissioner Julian Tackett and board constituents iterated five specific points of action that will soon take further shape:
• Beginning June 1, coaches in all sports can begin organizing with their players in groups of 10 or less (with one coach present per group), in what should be informational meetings only with no practices.
• By June 15, in line with Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear’s (D) 10-page return-to-youth-sports plan, coaches in all sports can begin having organized and socially-distanced workouts following the guidelines released by the governor’s office on May 22.
ª On June 29, teams can start practices with up to 50 players present, while still cordoned into 10-player groups with one coach per group. “High touch” fall sports (football, soccer, volleyball) will not be allowed to practice game-like physical situations, and instead should target skills and conditioning under state guidelines.
• In a one-time move, the traditional dead period (typically observed from June 25 to July 9) has been removed, with the expectation that any and all activities be made “voluntary” by school administration.
• And the KHSAA reiterated that, as an “arm of the state,” it would continue to follow the guidelines and instruction of both the Centers for Disease Control and Beshear’s office.
“Contrary to the belief of a lot of people out there, we don’t have the authority to do our own thing,” Tackett said, noting the KHSAA is an official appendage of the state’s Board of Education. “(But) we have to be ready to do some things differently going forward.
“What I’m trying to tell you, (and) what I really think is valuable is: Let’s get these kids back with their coaches sooner rather than later.”
It’s certainly worth noting that — while the KHSAA is prepping these guidelines for the summer — Tackett made it clear that it will be up to each individual school district to decide if, and when, campus athletic facilities can open for training and practices. Just as players and coaches will have to adhere to CDC/state guidelines, so, too, will the buildings involved, with deep sanitation and distancing expected for the foreseeable future.
As of yet, no decisions have been made in regards of the 2020 fall athletic calendar.
For a look at the governor’s recommendations, visit https://tinyurl.com/yaloxn99.
Information from Lexington Herald-Leader prep reporter Jared Peck and Courier-Journal prep reporter Jason Frakes contributed to this story.