High school athletics: Status of summer sports activities still uncertain, according to LHSAA memo

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Late last week, Executive Director Eddie Bonine sent a memo to LHSAA member schools’ coaches, athletic directors and superintendents in response to “a small number of inquiries regarding if and/or when the LHSAA was going to release a statement of what schools can and cannot do this summer in preparation for LHSAA sanctioned fall sports.”

The bottom line is that everything is still very much uncertain. Much depends on whether or not Gov. John Bel Edwards lets the stay-at-home order expire on May 15.

If it’s not extended, and Phase One of the state’s re-opening begins, some things could start becoming more concrete.

When the governor shut down all public schools on May 16 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, it was for the remainder of the school year. For Bossier Parish schools that is May 21.

LHSAA rules state that summer activities can begin on May 17.

“This brings forward the question I have been asked, ‘Does this mean at that time we can go back on our campuses and get into the weight room, gymnasiums and on our fields”? … Good question. Yesterday (April 30) I reached out to the Governors’ Education Policy Advisor and made him aware of this potential. He stated that he will bring it to the Governors attention,” the memo stated.

The memo also states that teams will be allowed to start practice a week early. Under LHSAA rules, teams choosing not to participate in spring practice can start preseason practice a week early. Obviously, no team in the state had spring practice so all are eligible to start early.

“The bulk of the responsibility for if and/or when people will be allowed back on to school facilities will fall to the local education authority. My biggest concern will be the potential of inconsistency of implementation for this allowance between private schools and public schools, as well as, parish to parish and campus to campus,” the memo stated.

The possibility that some schools might have access to campus facilities sooner than others is a concern that has been raised by at least one Bossier Parish head coach.

The memo also addressed the possibility of athletes being given an extra year of eligibility due to circumstance surrounding the pandemic. That was always highly unlikely and the answer is no, they won’t.

The LHSAA executive committee meeting scheduled for June 3-4 has been moved to June 24 with the hope that an “in-person” instead of virtual meeting will be permitted then.