Start of high school spring sports delayed
By George Browning, Sports Writer, [email protected]
It looks like there will be a spring sports season at all four Harrison County schools, but the exact date of contests is still to be determined.
All four schools — Corydon Central, Lanesville, North Harrison and South Central — have suspended all practices for the next two weeks. The suspension began Friday and is scheduled to be in place through March 29.
When students return to school on March 30 (the date as of Monday), the tentative plan is to begin practicing that day and then, once the 10 practices are conducted, games can be played. The 10-practice rule is required by the Indiana High School Athletic Association and, according to a release, they will not lessen that requirement.
Hal Pearson, athletic director at North Harrison, said that is the plan at this point and whether or not things play out that way depends on the coronavirus and how it’s being contained in America.
“We will re-evaluate leading up to March 30, but the plan is to be back that day and, if the conditions were to worsen, that, of course, could change,” he said. “Basically, starting that date will force us to cancel a lot of spring sports events. We are still planning to have a season, but there are some unknowns that can’t be answered yet.”
Athletic directors at Corydon Central, Lanesville and South Central confirmed the same plan should things progress the way they hope.
For the sports that have already gotten a couple of practices in, Pearson said he isn’t sure how that will be handled by the IHSAA.
“That’s going to have to be something we look into with the IHSAA to see if those sports that have already been practicing, if those practices count,” he said.
If students return as scheduled and teams get 10 practices in, they can compete, but that opens up another issue: scheduling.
“Take baseball, for example,” Pearson said, “If we get back and get our practices in, the earliest we could have a game would be April 13 against Brownstown, depending on whether or not they are back in school like we are. Those are things we don’t know the answer to right now.”
One thing that won’t change, according to Pearson, will be the priority to play conference games.
“We may have to cancel some games, maybe even county games, in order to get the conference games in,” he said. “The conference will just have to get together to see how we will handle that.”
Lanesville AD Mark Lambertus said he is reworking the spring sports schedule around the practice suspension, as well. And Tony Hall, athletic director at South Central, confirmed that, once students are back in school, they will take a similar approach.
The fact that there are plans to have a season is only half the battle; the other half will depend on how the spread of the virus unfolds.
“I think there will be some semblance of a spring sports season, but, at this point, there are no guarantees,” Pearson said. “Hopefully, these steps that are being taken will get the virus under control and we get back to things as normal in April.”
John Atkins, Corydon Central’s AD, agreed. He said he thinks this is the right approach and hopes it plays out as planned for the sake of the senior spring athletes.
“This whole situation is unfortunate, but I ultimately believe that taking these precautions is the correct decision,” Atkins said. “Once we are given a green light to return to activity, whenever that is, we will salvage as much of our spring sport schedules as we possibly can so that our student-athletes and coaches have the opportunity to compete.
“I feel bad for all of them but their safety and wellness is, and will always be, our primary concern,” he said.