KSHSAA allows winter sports to start on time, but with no spectators
photo by: Nick Krug
The 2020-21 high school winter sports season will start on time, though there will be a longer break before competition resumes in January. And there won’t be any spectators allowed at these competitions until at least Jan. 29.
During a meeting on Tuesday that lasted about four hours — and was watched live by more than 6,000 people on YouTube — the KSHSAA Board of Directors voted to start the winter sports season on time on Dec. 1 with the amendment of having a longer competition moratorium than usual. The motion ultimately passed, 53-22, after a lengthy discussion that resulted in two amendments to the original proposal.
The new competition moratorium is now from Dec. 23-Jan. 7, meaning games can resume on Friday, Jan. 8 after the break. After play ends in late December, practices for the high school winter sports teams will resume on Monday, Jan. 4.
The initial proposal on the meeting agenda was to delay the start of all competition until Jan. 15, but Olathe North principal Jason Herman proposed an amendment to allow competition to take place in December. He suggested having competition until Dec. 22, and then not having another game until Jan. 15.
After it passed by a 44-25 margin, Mill Valley Athletic Director Jerald VanRheen offered up a second amendment to that motion to move the restart date up to Jan. 8. That motion was ultimately passed, 41-34, but the final item ended up being passed by a wider margin.
There were 77 BOD members for all such votes, which meant 39 votes were needed for majority. The middle school sports season will mirror the amended high school sports schedule, which ended up passing by a 70-7 margin.
It means that the local sports teams are currently expected to miss just one game on its original schedule. Lawrence High had a home basketball doubleheader with Olathe West on Jan. 5, while Free State’s basketball teams were slated to travel to Shawnee Mission South on the same day.
While the schedule will remain mostly the same, that doesn’t mean the high school winter sports season will be business as usual. KSHSAA voted in favor of no spectators being allowed at high school events from Dec. 1 through Jan. 28, which passed by a 50-26 margin. Middle school sports will not have fans in attendance either.
All participants and attendees of events will be required to wear face coverings, which is a motion that passed by a 76-1 margin. The only exception is athletes and officials actively playing as well as medical exceptions.
No more than four teams can play at one site for basketball, but eight-team tournaments can be held as long as there are multiple gymnasiums. No more than eight schools or 112 wrestlers will be allowed at wrestling events. That all passed by a 59-15 margin.
Regular-season lengths remain untouched for all winter sports programs, which includes a 20-game slate for basketball squads.
All of that voting was preceded by a public discussion forum. During that portion of the meeting, speakers got the opportunity to plead their case for why the winter sports season should take place. One of those individuals was Eudora senior Jayla Pierce, who is committed to play softball at Rockhurst while also being a standout in volleyball and girls basketball.
Pierce begged the board to not delay the start of the high school sports season, a request that was ultimately answered. And that should be considered a win for all the student-athletes, even if they are playing in empty venues for the time being.
Items resulting from the KSHSAA Board of Directors Meeting:
· The BOD voted in favor to begin the winter activity competition season on Dec. 1 and continue through Dec. 22 before taking a winter moratorium for practice and competition beginning on Dec. 23.
· The winter moratorium usually runs from Dec. 23 to Dec. 27, but the board chose to extend the moratorium on practice and competition through Jan. 3. Practice may begin on Jan. 4 and competition may resume on Jan. 8.
· Basketball may have a maximum of 20 games, not including the postseason.
· Swimming and diving may have a maximum of 10 competitions, exclusive of the state meet.
· Boys and girls wrestling may have a maximum of 18 events and no more than 30 competitions points, exclusive of the postseason.
· Bowling may have a maximum of 10 competitions, exclusive of the postseason.
· No spectators will be permitted for high school and middle school contests from Dec. 1 through Jan. 28, 2021.