The Prospects for Fall High School Sports
As I was going to my car after leaving the beach last Sunday a woman who was parked in front of me said, “Are we going to have a high school football season?”
I did not recognize her immediately until she introduced herself by saying she was the mother of a local player who I was very familiar with. She went on to say that as a senior he was basically chomping at the bit to get on the field and it would be devastating to be deprived of his final high school season.
Welcome to the new reality of sports (and many other things). New Jersey high school student-athletes lost their entire spring to COVID-19 and while the NJSIAA is moving forward with plans for the fall they might as well be written in pencil so you can easily erase and re-write.
The current plan for football, soccer, field hockey, cross country and girl’s tennis is to allow summer workouts to begin on July 13 with a list of guidelines and restrictions that one coach summed up as “challenging, confusing, difficult and demanding.” Of all these sports football is the one that seems to have the most significant obstacles in its way based on the number of participants and the nature of the sport itself.
As Director of the Shore Sports Network I can tell you that as difficult as it was to lose the spring season things would go quickly from bad to worse if football and the fall was wiped out for whatever reasons. You might say well they are moving full-speed ahead with plans for college football and the NFL so what would hold back high school football.
The answer is simple: MONEY.
Both the colleges and the pros need the game back because of the revenue associated with it and don’t kid yourself. Big time college football is all about the money.
However here at the shore and in New Jersey the money part means nothing as it’s all about safety. As a matter of fact I’m sure there are superintendents and business administrators who would love to save the dollars they expend of football and other sports. It would make their lives and finances easier if the season were suspended.
So here we are in late June and for what it’s worth I think at best there is a 50-50 chance of a somewhat normal football season with other sports having a better chance, like cross country.
I don’t know if it’s an all-or-nothing situation, meaning all fall sports or no fall sports. However if your child is a senior who is preparing for their final season you better have that speech ready for when the plug is pulled.
Man do I hope I am wrong!