High School workouts set to resume June 8
The good news regarding high school athletics in Louisiana is that there seems to be a light at the end of the tunnel.
It just may take a little longer than hoped to reach that light.
Today, the stay-at-home order will be lifted and Louisiana will begin Phase 1 of the reopening process.
Many expected things dealing with high school athletics, such as workouts, would resume with some restrictions beginning next week.
That, however, is not the case.
On Wednesday, the LHSAA Executive Committee met via conference call and voted unanimously to postpone implementation of summer rules until Monday, June 8 due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
The decision prohibits the start of summer practice in any sport by an LHSAA school-based team until that time.
“I’ll put it to you this way, whatever school might have been planning to do on Sunday or Monday, you cannot do until June 8,” said LHSAA executive director Eddie Bonine. “That includes any kind of weightlifting, bouncing a basketball, throwing a football or a baseball, hitting a volleyball...whatever was planned is not permissive.
“It was a long meeting and a good one. At the end of day, we needed to pump the brakes. We’re in an unusual time...unprecedented. Nobody needs to rush into this. The department of education and department of health are working together to provide guidance on things like how to implement sanitation, which is something not all schools are prepared for.”
Notre Dame’s Lewis Cook and Crowley High’s Jeptha Wall couldn’t agree more.
“Last week, they (LHSAA) came out and said the summer rules apply starting May 18, which basically gives you the freedom, like for us, to practice every day as long as you don’t have pads on,” said Cook.
“Now, they sent out the memo today and said to keep everything shutdown, as is, until June 8.
“Honestly, I was kind of glad that they did that. I think this is the best for everybody: It gives us more time before we try and go running out there and not have a full understanding of what we should be doing or not doing.”
In a three-page memo sent to member schools, Bonine said the committee heard reports from staff members and committee member Ken Bradford, who represents the Louisiana department of education.
The memo references a May 1 memo in which Bonine said, “My biggest concern was potentially the inconsistency in the implementation from public schools, private schools and schools within individual parishes.”
“Nobody, legally, should be doing anything until June 8,” said Cook. “Say one parish would have said that you can start May 22. One might have said that nothing can be done until June. This way is consistent and fair for everybody that we all wait until June 8.”
Wall says he’s just glad to see some progress being made.
“I’m just happy they're talking about it (resuming workouts),” said Wall. “It’s just, to what extent can you do things. We just have to be well prepared when we do start and take it one step at a time.
“And the bottom line, too, is that some kids may have been working out (on their own) and some might have not done anything. So when you are starting from scratch, it might be a good thing and we probably need to take it slow.
“I mean, I’m anxious to get my kids back and the new ones coming in, but at the same time, you have to be cautious. I know we have to test the waters sooner or later so what’s another week?”
Cook agrees that one more week will not be detrimental to anyone.
“It’s better to wait,” said Cook. “Our summer workouts were going to begin June 1 anyway, so one more week is not that big of a deal.
“Now, obviously, we would have been further along if we would have got to go through spring, but I think everybody will have six or seven solid weeks to get yourself ready for practice.”
During Wednesday’s conference call, a July 1 start date was also discussed, but Bonine said the committee felt comfortable with June 8, noting that it would line up with Gov. John Bel Edwards’ roll out of Phase 2.
Phase 1, which begins today, allows for a group of no more than 10 people for activities. That number includes coaches.
Phase 2, which is expected to be implemented on June 5, will allow for groups of 25 and allow sports that involve limited contact, including baseball, cheerleading, gymnastics, volleyball and softball.
Phase 1 allows for individual sports and non-contact sports, such as bowling, cross country, powerlifting, swimming, golf and tennis.
If everything runs smoothly, Phase 3, which allows gatherings of up to 50, is expected to be implemented in late June.
As far as summer athletics not under the LHSAA, like American Legion or travel ball, Bonine said that will be up to the athlete.
However, if those teams play on a high school field, it would be up to the schools to determine whether those teams are allowed on their campus.