Behind closed doors the LHSAA met Wednesday with the fate of high school football looking gloomy. In recent days a push to move the sport to the spring has grown, but LHSAA executive director Eddie Bonnie squashed that idea.
"Moving football and the other fall sports, flipping fall and spring sports, doesn’t make sense for us,” he said on a Zoom call after Wednesday's meeting. “We’ve heard from baseball coaches and they don’t want it. Some people thought we were going to shut down the fall season today. And that was never considered."
Support for the plan began picking up steam Tuesday, and the Louisiana Football Coaches Association polled its coaches to see if they supported it.
Ville Platte football coach Jorie Randle said he believes it would have been hard to convince enough coaches to move their season, but guaranteed a full season in the spring versus a partial in the fall with limited fans could have tilted the scales.
"People don't look at schools as a business, but these are business entities," he said. "If playing a full schedule in the spring or having a modified schedule in the fall was an option. I'm pretty sure those guys would want to play in the spring."
Randle said he doesn't see any way the season goes on as scheduled and anticipates schools may only play district games. He said losing the Tee Cotton Bowl as the season kickoff could cost Ville Platte 30 percent of its athletic budget.
"That game generates a great deal of revenue," he said. "As a coach when you make a non-district schedule, a lot of people don't know this, but finances are a key in scheduling non-district games."
The LHSAA seems to be on a "wait-and-see" approach for now. Bonine said 20 parishes have already curtailed or canceled summer workouts as positive tests results rise. He said a third of all schools have reported at least one case of the virus.
During the meeting Tulane Dr. Greg Stewart spoke to the committee. He told the Advocate that his message was simple, to play fall sports people must follow state guidelines, a message Bonine would echo.
"We just gotta do whatever we need to do. Masks, temperature checks. Sanitization. Anything we were doing getting out of stay at home orders to get us to phase 2, we need to go back to that," he said. "If we want high school sports in any fashion in the fall, we really need to take care of July."
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