LHSAA puts summer plans on hold
High school coaches were getting ready to begin their off season workout plans and summer league competition scheduled to begin Monday.
But the LHSAA executive committee voted unanimously via a conference call on Wednesday to postpone until June 8 as the first day of permissive LHSAA summer rules for all sports.
The decision prohibits the start of summer practice in any sport by an LHSAA school-based team.
According to a memo sent to the member coaches, the committee “took into account any/all information provided by updates, inter-committee discussion and staff recommendations to make the decision.”
Gov. John Bel Edwards announced the Phase I reopening that began on Friday allows for groups of no more than 10 people for activities.
Phase II, which is scheduled to begin 21 days later, would allow group sizes of 25 including adults for limited contact sports including baseball, cheerleading, gymnastics, softball and volleyball.
“I’ll put it to you this way, whatever schools might have been planning to do on Sunday or Monday, you cannot do until June 8,” LHSAA executive director Eddie Bonine said in an interview with The Advocate.
“That includes any kind of weightlifting, bouncing a basketball, throwing a football or a baseball, hitting a volleyball … whatever was planned is not permissive.”
Bonine believes the delay until June 8 will give schools the chance to plan for all phases of rolling out practices, etc., within safety standards.
“My biggest concern was potentially the inconsistency in the implementation from public schools, private schools and schools within individual parishes,” he said.
St. Edmund athletic director James Shiver said he can’t wait to get with his team again.
“We starting working out in the weight room the Monday after we lost in the playoffs and the kids were really progressing,” he said. “They were on a mission and then the virus shut down everything for more than two months.”
The LHSAA postponed its sports seasons on March 16, in conjunction with Louisiana’s stay-at-home order. On April 9, the LHSAA canceled its remaining spring sports and championship events because of the pandemic.
“Not having spring training was not bad because we weren’t having a spring game and we were just going but have individual drills and start earlier in August,” Shiver said. “The summer is where you learn the passing game.
“It will hurt us missing that time because we weren’t able to get together.”
Shiver said he feels they will be able to do the social distancing and keeping the areas sanitized.
“We are ready,” the Blue Jay coach said. “I planned to separate our team into five groups each with a coach.
“We will clean every area when each group finishes their drills and no group would be in contact with each other.”
Shiver said he is hopeful that the season will start on time in the fall.
Iota athletic director Josh Andrus said the LHSAA decision won’t change their plans much if they can start workouts on June 8.
“We usually don’t start until the first week of June for our summer workouts,” Andrus said. “The delay won’t put us that far behind.
“Not doing anything in the spring will hurt our younger guys,” he said. “We will be a young team and they needed those practices because we won’t be as an experienced team we were for the past couple of years.”
The coach said after the shutdown happened, they sent out workout and game plans to the players.
“It is now on them.,” he said. “We will see how committed they are.”
Andrus said they will follow the guidelines and keep everything clean during summer workouts for all Iota teams.
Andrus said he can’t see his football team playing games without fans in the stands.
“We operate on ticket sales and concessions,” he said. “We couldn’t pay the officials without the fans being there.
“It would hurt us financially as our games are usually standing room only,” Andrus said. “If there is social distancing in the stands, I don’t think we will be playing games.
“But I’m hopeful we get to play.”
Eunice High principal Mitch Fontenot said the Bobcat athletic staff is prepared to do what is necessary to resume their sports.
“We had a meeting with all the coaches and athletic trainer,” Fontenot said. “They are doing whatever they have to do get ready.”
Fontenot said they want to see athletics return this fall.
“We will do what is necessary including social distancing and limiting the crowd size at events.
“We want the kids to play as long as it is safe,” he said. “We want to them to not lose that experience.
“If it’s possible for them to play, we will find a way to make it happen.”