TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – Practice kicked off this week for many high schools athletes in Kansas, but the season is already coming to a stop for some teams.
Wichita Public Schools joined Kansas City Public Schools to get rid of fall sports because of the coronavirus pandemic. This week, Topeka Public Schools canceled its first week of football games.
“The vast majority of our state is still participating, but our urban, suburban areas are struggling now, but that’s where the health crisis is really at the most significant impact,” said Bill Faflick, executive director for the Kansas State High School Activities Association.
Those decisions are affecting the teams within the school districts and teams that aren’t. Some schools will now have open dates on their schedules, and athletic directors could be looking to make up games.
That means teams will finish with a different amount of games played at the end of the season, which can impact the playoffs.
KSHSAA officials said they will work that out when the time comes, but right now it’s about giving students the chance to compete against one another.
“It’s going to be a little bit start and stop. We’d like it to be continuous but bottom line is we’ll play when we can, when it’s appropriate to play,” said Falflick. “When it’s not appropriate, then there is no problem in hitting the pause button and resuming when it’s safe to do so.”
KSHSAA doesn’t have a minimum number of games that schools have to play in order to make the postseason.
“This year there’s a recognition there may be a time period where [schools] have to take a break, because [schools] may have to quarantine or [schools] may not have an opponent to play and [schools] have those built in breaks this year,” Faflick said.
Faflick said precautions like wearing masks, practicing in smaller groups and playing teams that are located close to each other could help prevent major spreading and the lessen the chance of having to cancel the entire season.