Since March, when the Coronavirus started affecting school and sports, athletes have had one thing on their minds.
What do I have to do to play?
The Kansas State High Schools Activities Association has provided the public with considerations documents on their website. These restrictions pertain to each individual sport during each season.
So far, the only winter sports listed are basketball and wrestling. However, these are not the only sports as the winter season also includes; boys swimming, boys diving and bowling.
Although similar to the fall sports considerations, the winter season’s seem a bit more careful in some instances. The winter sport’s restrictions include points like coach, event staff, officials and player protocols. Some of these include mask requirements, daily screenings and the elimination of pre and post game handshakes.
During the fall season, each player was giving a set amount of tickets for attendees. This limited the number of viewers at each game, and gave the player’s friends and family a chance to come and watch their athlete.
However, despite the recent surge in positive COVID cases and hospitalizations statewide, member schools are asked to “consider” limiting crowd sizes as well as require fans to wear masks at events.
The new protocols require teams to clean equipment much more often. Provided hand sanitizer and daily cleaning of balls, mats and other player equipment is required. This helps to slow the spread and kill COVID-19.
Senior basketball player and Wichita State commit, Ella Anciaux said she thought the restrictions were a step in the right direction.
“I think that the restrictions that are currently set in place are a great way of limiting the spread of COVID-19 while still carrying on with normal activities that are very important to our student athletes at KMC,” Anciaux said.
Other than players and coaches, officials also have to abide by their own set of considerations. Some of these include social distancing before and after games, getting their temperature checked after each game and refusing to speak to a coach or player if they are not wearing a face mask.
Even though the restrictions still try to let athletes experience the full season, teams will miss out on quite a bit. For instance, most tournaments are restricted to only close geographical destinations. Even then, many schools are cutting back on the number of tournaments they are holding.
Although plenty of people agree with KSHSAA and support the new rules, some have different opinions.
Many student athletes are not happy about the considerations and worries that KSHSAA has presented. Sophomore Nathan Fury thinks that everyone should be allowed to play their sports and do so fully.
“[KSHSAA] needs to relax and just let us play our sports and come out and say if you are so worried about COVID then don’t play… I’m looking forward to seeing the wrestling team,” Fury said.
Even with all the restrictions on winter sports, athletes are happy to be back on the mat, on the court, in the pool or at the lanes. Many were unsure of what the sports seasons were going to look like this year and as of now winter sports will proceed as planned. Winter sports practices across the state will begin Nov.16.