LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - To play or not to play? It was a decision weighing heavy on the minds of many Kentucky coaches leading fall sports Tuesday morning. That’s why there may have been a unified sigh of relief when the Kentucky High School Athletic Association made its decision to allow the fall sports season with new guidelines.
After weeks of taking temperatures and social distancing for limited practices, some coaches said they were nervous to text their student athletes one way or another.
The KHSAA contends when it comes to students and the games they love, it’s better to try and live in a COVID-19 world instead of shutting down all together. For two of Jefferson County’s biggest public and private football programs, being able to practice with helmets August 24 and take part in games beginning September 11 was welcome news.
“I’m excited to talk to them and let them know,” said Chris Wolfe, the Male High head coach of notifying his players.
“I’m really happy for our sport and happy mostly for our kids,” said Kevin Wallace, the St. Xavier head football coach was also excited by the news. “All of our players wanted to hear that there’s a chance.”
Coaches understand if coronavirus cases go up things may change, but for now it sure beats the current six hours of conditioning allowed per week.
“At least we know now that there’s a scheduled date for our practice and a scheduled date for the start of our season,” Wallace said.
One hurdle coaches of big programs have is the decision of the KHSAA Board of Control to limit the number of players to 60 that can dress in uniform for games. That was new we broke to Wolfe.
“Sixty on the sidelines is the max?” Wolfe asked. “Wow, that’s going to be problematic.”
That’s because Wolfe has 85 players who dress for varsity. At St. X, Wallace has more than 100. The 60 player maximum not only limits players at each position, but Wallace it hurts the kids.
“It’s the Friday night experience,” Wallace said, “the ability to be on the sidelines and be a part of the group, you practiced all week to prepare to do your job to help your teammates and be there.”
That’s a statement which Wolfe agreed with.
“You’ve got to turn a kid away and then what does he turn to them?” Wolfe said. “Kids want to be a part of a group.”
While that will be a challenge, ultimately the coaches told us they’re happy because their kids get to play and get some sense of normalcy back in their lives.