For whatever reasons, I see a big difference between high school and college. I'm glad the NCAA decided to give college spring sport participants an extra year of eligibility . . . although it appears that the burden will be on the schools to find the money needed to pay for the players who will be returning for an extra year of college (perhaps a full year unless they sit out fall semester), the underclassmen who would be returning anyway, as well as the new players coming in. But it was the right thing to do. And while many of the winter sport athletes (like basketball and gymnastics) missed out on what could have been the highlight of their career (like post-season tournaments), I'm OK with not giving these student-athletes another year of eligibility. More of a gut call than a logical analysis.
But, while I feel horrible for the high school spring sport athletes, and remain hopeful that they will be allowed to complete their spring sport seasons -- abbreviated as they may be -- I just don't feel right about high school kids postponing graduation to play another season of high school sports. I just don't think it would be smart/prudent/advisable to put off an entire year of college just so they can come back for another year of high school and play another year of baseball or football (or whatever). [As an aside, such a decision by the FHSAA would likely require them to change their bylaws and allow kids to play after they've reached the magic age (19?)].
As a practical matter, seniors who participate in spring sports, and who hope to obtain college scholarships in those sports, already have been offered. Baseball and softball are both big club sports, and tennis is in a category all its own. Lacrosse is still relatively new in Florida, but the better players already have been identified as juniors and/or based on their club play. Same with even newer sports like boy's volleyball and water polo. I'm not really sure where Track & Field and Weightlifting fit in, but I'm guessing the really fast and really strong athletes already have been identified and, if scholarships are available, offered. I do feel particularly bad for the flag football players if they are not able to complete their seasons, as the sport doesn't exist yet in college (except as a club sport).
I saw something posted the other day quoting a high school baseball coach who claimed it would take at least three weeks of practice to have his team ready to play games again. Sorry, but I call B.S. on this. If I were a high school senior who played baseball (like I once was), you could have me game-ready in a week - especially if school was over or almost over and restrictions on practice time, if any, were lifted. My thought: once the FHSAA gives teams the green light to hit the field again, give them all a week to practice, have them play one or two games and then go straight into district tournaments, with all seeding be done at random. Double elimination, if possible. Yeah, some good teams might get shafted and some seasons are going to come to end way too soon for some teams and a lot of players, but something is better than nothing.
Anyway, I was bored and this topic seemed as good as any to stir things up a little. I've put my thoughts out there. What do you guys think?
Here is a message from the FHSAA. They want to extend the season. It won't happen but at least the FHSAA is not just canceling and trying to find ways. However in my opinion they are giving false hope and there is no way this will happen.
GAINESVILLE, FL - Given the directive of President Trump to maintain following CDC guidelines through April 30, 2020, combined with Governor DeSantis and Commissioner Corcoran's mandate for schools in Florida to remain closed through May 3, 2020, the FHSAA will continue to follow suit with all scheduled FHSAA meetings, conferences, and athletic events postponed. Pending schools are back in session and afforded the opportunity to resume activities after May 3rd, by Federal, State and Local authorities, the FHSAA will follow the advice and guidance available to us at that time regarding the continuance of all FHSAA spring sports.
In light of the current situation, the FHSAA staff is actively working on creative solutions for the continuance of spring sports, which could extend through June 30th. The FHSAA does understand the hardships caused by COVID-19 and the inability to play spring sports. If we are not able to continue spring sports, the FHSAA is working diligently to create a plan regarding additional eligibility for students who have not been able to participate in spring sports.
The health and safety of our student-athletes, coaches, administrators, officials, fans and local communities are our top priority. We appreciate all member schools' cooperation in following Federal, State and Local recommendations and mandates during this time.
For the most up-to-date information, please visit the FHSAA website. The FHSAA staff will continue to follow the latest developments and will continue to provide updated information as deemed necessary.
The FHSAA office will remain closed following the Governor's recommendation. However, staff will continue to work remotely, during regular business hours. For staff contact information, click here.