For nearly 72 days now, high school sports has not existed. And, for the most part, no one really knew if and when high school sports might be starting back up again in the state of Kentucky.
On Thursday afternoon, the Kentucky High School Athletic Association Board of Control met - virtually via Zoom - to set up some preliminary dates to when coaches and teams could start getting back to the playing sports again.
After a nearly two-hour long Zoom meeting, that was viewed by over 1,000 online spectators, the KHSAA Board of Control voted on two important dates in their attempt to get Kentucky high school sports started back up again.
The first order of business was to decide whether they still wanted to enforce the previously scheduled summer dead period - which extends from June 25 through July 9. After much debate and a vote of 13-5, the Board voted to eliminate the summer dead period for 2020. The Board's reasoning was that the student athletes had already been on a nearly two-month dead period. Also, with the governor's recommendations to start practices on June 15, it did not make sense to then have a dead period ten days later.
Also, the Board voted unanimously to designate the time period of June 1 through June 15, for coaches to start getting their facilities organized and PPE equipped. During this time period, coaches are allowed to meet with groups of 10 athletes at a time for meetings. No practicing is allowed during this time, and all social distancing guidelines must be obeyed.
The KHSAA timeline will be congruent with orders from the Kentucky governor, meaning there won't be any high school sports going on before June 15. According to state guidelines, low-impact sports (golf, cross country) could start practices (no competition) in groups of 10 or less starting June 15. High-impact sports (volleyball, football, soccer, field hockey) could start workouts/exercises in groups of 10 or less starting on June 15.
At the beginning of the meeting, KHSAA commissioner Julian Tackett made it clear that the KHSAA did not have the authority to contradict the state guidelines, such as what was done in Oklahoma.
"Contrary to belief of a lot of people out there, we don't have the authority to do our own thing," Tackett stated. "The KHSAA is a "state actor" as an arm of the Board of Education."
While Tackett stated that the KHSAA had to abide by all state sports guidelines, he did say he was eager to get the student-athletes face-to-face with their coaches.
"Let's get these kids back to their coaches, sooner rather than later," Tackett stated.
While the low-touch sports like golf and cross country could simulate games game environments with scrimmages from June 29 through July 12, the high-touch sports would have to continue with conditioning workouts during that same period.
Also, the KHSAA Board stated that no extra eligibility would be granted for athletes because of the COVID-19 pandemic season cancellations.
STEVE CORNELIUS is the CJ Sports Editor and can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @CJSportseditor.