KSHSAA board approves changes to winter sports schedule
TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Competition in the Kansas high school winters sports season will not be delayed, but will take a longer pause over the Christmas and New Years holidays.
The Kansas State High School Activities Association Board of Directors voted 53-22 Tuesday afternoon to approve the schedule change for winter activities. Competition for high schools may begin Dec. 1 and continue through Dec. 23, followed by a moratorium with schools allowed to resume competition Jan. 8. An initial proposal would have delayed all competition to Jan. 15.
Middle school and junior high competitions also will take a break from Dec. 23 through Jan. 7. In addition, the board voted 42-34 to extend a moratorium on practices from Dec. 23 to 27, to Dec. 23 to Jan. 3.
The KSHSAA Executive Board unanimously advanced a slate of proposals last week. They also include limiting spectators once activities resume, and requiring face coverings.
“In recognition of the recent rapid deterioration of Kansas health evidenced by elevated positivity rates, the impact of other illnesses on top of COVID-19 in an overburdened health care system, and moving interscholastic activities indoors, the Executive Board unanimously supported proposing these alterations for consideration by the full Board of Directors,” KSHSAA wrote in a Nov. 18 news release.
Tuesday’s vote followed comments from several parents, coaches, and student-athletes, most pleading with the board to allow competition to move forward as scheduled. Dr. David Smith, a member of KSHSAA’s sports medicine advisory committee and a physician with University of Kansas Health System, also addressed the board. He outlined the current surge in cases with which hospitals are dealing, but noted the committee spent two hours crafting a compromise for athletics to continue, with appropriate mitigation procedures, after students and families concluded the holidays.
Prior to the vote, KSHSAA executive director Bill Faflick outlined how the organization consulted local, state, and federal health data and guidance, along with assessing risks, not only to student-athletes, but to adults who might be involved in activities, and the added risk of indoor competition. He acknowledged no decision will make everyone happy, but said the focus should be on the “collective we” rather than “me.”
Faflick said schools not following the guidelines could jeopardize their status as members in good standing, and be subject to administrative actions.
In addition to delaying competition to Jan. 15, the plan also include the following:
· 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.
· Limited fans for remainder of winter competitions.
· Mandatory universal masking with exception to athletes in competition and officials during live action.
· No invitational tournaments.
The recommendations also cap the number of competitions each high school sport can take part in with basketball limited to 20 games per team, bowling limited to 10 competitions, swimming and diving with a maximum 10 competitions per athlete, and wrestling limited to 18 events and 30 competition points maximum.
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