KSHSAA board recommends delaying winter sports

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By Travis Mounts

TOPEKA – The executive board for the Kansas State High School Activities Association has recommended postponing the winter sports season for high school and middle school students until mid-January. Non-sports activities also would be impacted.

The recommendation came on a unanimous vote of the KSHSAA executive board on Wednesday, Nov. 18. The recommendation went before the full board of directors on Tuesday, Nov. 24. (This week's TSnews went to press on Monday night; see our social media and website for an update on this story).

The plan would delay all competitions for winter activities until Jan. 15. Debate and scholar's bowl would only take part in virtual competitions.

Winter activity practices would be allowed to continue in December, where appropriate. An extended moratorium would be in place from Dec. 23 through Jan. 3. Practices would resume on Jan. 4.

Competitions would tentatively restart on Jan. 15, but no fans would be allowed through Jan. 28. Starting on Jan. 29, a limited number of fans would be allowed to attend.

Mask wearing would be mandatory, except for athletes in competition and officials during live action.

Also according to his plan, there would be no invitational tournaments.

Additionally, there would be competition limits for high school sports and additional middle school restrictions.

The high school basketball season would be limited to 13 games. Wrestling would be limited to 12 events. Swimming and diving would be limited to six competitions per athlete. Bowling would have an maximum of eight days per team or individual.

There would be no December competitions for middle school sports, just practices, and no competition from Jan. 1 through Jan. 14. Events would be limited to a maximum of three schools.

Schools would be strongly encourage to focus on skill development and intramural play. Starting on Jan. 15, there would be a limit of two fans per player at middle school competitions.

The recommendation comes as the health situation in Kansas has rapidly deteriorated. Kansas had the fifth highest positivity rate in the country on Nov. 19, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center and reported by Beckers Hospital Review. Kansas rate was 43.4 percent, well above the 24.7 percent of Alabama, the next highest state. The three worst states were Iowa (50.2 percent), South Dakota (55.9) and Wyoming (92.9).

KSHSAA's sports medicine advisory committee raised concerns about what it called a “three-headed monster,” with increasing positivity rates, moving sports indoors, and other illnesses on top of COVID-19. The committee pointed to the rapid deterioration of the health situation in Kansas, but noted that there have been no scientific findings indicating the spread of COVID-19 between athletes curing competition and called it “primarily an adult issue.”
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