How is COVID-19 affecting Manual’s fall sports?

Liv Bohler and Norah Wulkopf

As of now, Manual is planning to start its 2020-2021 sports season on July 15 but is preparing for a delayed start based on possible Kentucky High School Athletic Association (KHSAA) and JCPS guidelines for the coronavirus.

KHSAA has canceled activities through May but hasn’t announced anything past that date. 

“It is doubtful that summer activities will be allowed. I anticipate the KHSAA to issue a statement regarding restrictions with June and/or July activities in the next week or so,” Athletics Director David Zuberer said.

Because teams can’t currently meet in person, fall sports teams, like the Dazzlers, have opted to have their tryouts virtually.

“We begin tryouts in early May and practice through the summer so with social distancing being a must we cannot meet in person. This really hurts us as a team because not only can we not practice together but we don’t get to meet our team. The dynamic will definitely be different once we are finally able to meet in person,” Olivia Sebastian (11, YPAS) said. 

The field hockey team is using the workout app True Coach to get in shape and stay connected, despite current restrictions.

“We’re just making sure that it’s still a positive environment, everyone is staying engaged, and we’re interacting virtually even if we can’t be together physically,” Olivia Couch (11, HSU) said.

The cross country team has been working based on a schedule created by their coach, encouraging them to reach a certain mileage by the time practice starts.

While the KHSAA and JCPS have made clear that the student’s safety is a top priority, they have yet to come out with specific directives. 

“If [specific directives] are issued, we will be fully compliant with directives at Manual,” Zuberer said.

If the fall athletic season is canceled, there would be a wide range of impacts.

Seniors who plan to pursue an athletic career in college would miss an important season for recruitment. However, Manual’s athletics department plans to adjust and work with these students. 

The Male/Manual games would not be able to be made up if the season were canceled.

“Our football games must be played in the time frame given by the KHSAA. If our season is shortened, I anticipate us playing the game at the conclusion of our regular season. If our season is canceled, I do not anticipate that game being made up,” Zuberer said.

The financial impact of limited crowd sizes or a canceled season would be detrimental to the athletics department.

Since Crimson Card prices vary on the number of home games, a limited or lack of home games would lower the cost of the card. 

“The majority of the needed funds to support our athletic teams comes from ticket and Crimson/Ram Card sales, with our five home varsity football games being the highest attended events. If that money is diminished because of restricted attendance or cancellation of games, our ability to fully support our teams financially will be in jeopardy. This includes team equipment, coaching salaries, facility/field maintenance and improvements, etc,” Zuberer said.

The volleyball team has already missed a fundraiser because of coronavirus cancellations.

“Our yearly Derby/Oaks clean-up was canceled, so we’re losing money from that,” Logan Bibby (11, HSU) said.

The rules and guidelines regarding fall sports may continue to change due to coronavirus.