May 17th was the original start date for summer rules, but after a unanimous vote, the LHSAA executive committee decided to postpone all workouts and practices until June 8th.
In a memo released this week, executive director Eddie Bonine said all information from the Louisianna Department of Education and the Office of Public Health was considered to make the decision.
Pushing the start date back also allows for more consitency from parish to parish and between public and private schools, which addresses one of Bonine’s biggest concerns.
“We felt for number one the safety of all the athletes, and number two establishing some equity, of whom we all know when we’re going to start and it gives everybody the opportunity,” Bonine says.
Bonine says many of the fall sports coaches support the decision. Acadiana football head coach Matt McCullough knows practice will look a little different, but the opportunity to start workouts is worth it.
“We’ve been working with the athletic director in the parish and making sure that we’ve got everything ready to go,” McCullough says. “We’ve also got to take their temperature when we check roll. We’ve gotta make sure it’s under a certain amount. There’s some stipulations to it, but at least we get a chance to work with our kids.”
Another fall sport this decision impacts: volleyball. Terry Hebert and his Teurlings Catholic volleyball team are used to a very regimented routine, helping them earn seven straight state championships.
Now, that prep work will have a different schedule.
“We’re just looking to get the girls in shape in June,” Hebert says. “If we need to play in front of nobody, I said this to someone else the other day, we practice every day by ourselves. The girls, at this point right now, including myself, we just want to compete. We just want to play, whether there’s somebody up there in the stands or not.”
No fans in the stands is a real possibility come this fall, but Bonine believes making the right decision now and pushing back workouts provides a better chance for everyone involved…coaches, student-athletes, and fans included, to enjoy high school sports this fall.
“We’re gonna do the best we can with it and take baby steps to do like we’re supposed to and have a full stadium, bands playing, concessions stands open, everybody doing what they normally do,” Bonine says. “That’s have fun at a high school event come this fall.”