With the recent shutdown of sports due to the spread of the coronavirus, one question mark is what high school sports will look like from this point forward.
In April, the University Interscholastic League (UIL) indefinitely suspended all sanctioned in-person activities before canceling the remainder of spring sports and championships.
However, according to news reports, the UIL’s Legislative Council has started making preparations for what is next, granting relaxed restrictions on coaching and workout access with student-athletes during the summer in light of spring activities being canceled.
In particular, word has yet to be announced about the fall football schedule. Could Texas high school sports miss out on its first season of football? Will football games go on without the traditional setting of fans, bands and cheerleaders?
To get some answers, the Defender spoke with three local sports journalists to get their perspectives on what they think high school sports will look like post-COVID-19.
Ralph Cooper, KCOH Radio
“The picture is really unknown regarding how sports will be watched inside arenas and stadiums because of social distancing. I’m hoping and wondering if it will ever be like it was in the past where you had 100,000 people packed in a college stadium cheering for their perspective teams. Will we see high school games with social distancing? Right now, with no vaccine I would say, no.”
Adam Coleman, Houston Chronicle
“I think eventually we’ll get back to normalcy in high school sports but everyone will be more conscious of their surroundings at games and events. The images of people wearing masks and gloves aren’t going away anytime soon. The virus also could have some ripple effects on offseason programs and summer conditioning. Coaches and student-athletes have missed a lot of training time between each other because of the virus so the UIL is considering relaxing restrictions on summer conditioning with hopes of making up for lost time at some point. Whatever those changes are, I could see them being permanent.”
Nate Griffin, Fox 26 News
“I think the high school programs are going to somewhat mirror the collegiate programs. However, because they’re dealing with a younger student-athlete, an extremely high level of care will need to be exercised to keep them safe. We’re really not sure if this pandemic will completely change the face of high school sports. But until a vaccine is created, I can see a scenario that limits the number of students allowed to participate in any one sport. There are still so many questions to be answered. Hard to imagine a contact-less sport.”
WHAT DO YOU THINK?
What should the UIL do this upcoming fall if no vaccine is developed?
a. Shut down all team sports
b. Allow team sports to continue in empty stadiums
c. Allow teams to play and fans to watch while practicing social distancing
d. Other (post comments on social media)