Sudden hopes in recent days that Colorado was revisiting its modified sports schedule for the 2020-21 school year were quashed Wednesday, when state officials announced there would be no changes because of the pandemic involving the coronavirus (COVID-19).
In a release from the Colorado High School Activities Association, its board of directors unanimously voted to not reconsider any change to school-year sports that was issued on Aug. 4.
It’s a decision that immediately wasn’t popular in many schools and homes throughout Colorado and sparked a lot of negative reaction on various news and social-media outlets. Insinuations that Gov. Jared Polis was on board for a lift on the football ban, the major point of contention for those who wanted prep sports to continue as normal, further ignited inspirations. So did recent reversals that brought the total number of states nationally playing schoolboy football this fall to more than three dozen.
But what Wednesday’s release did do was induce discussion, lots of it.
From a statement by Gov. Polis: “I have said from the beginning that it will take all of us - people at home, local communities, governments, businesses, and organizations working together to crush the spread of this virus. Our administration was looking forward to allowing more student-athletes to begin their season this fall, but if the CHSAA board unanimously agrees that they should delay their season until the spring in an effort to ensure that they are better prepared to protect the safety of student-athletes then our administration fully respects that decision.
“The important thing is that every CHSAA sanctioned athletic team sport will occur this school year giving kids the opportunity to learn important skills by participating in team sports.”
From Troy Baker, board president and athletic director at Buena Vista: “We understand that our school communities would like to return to all levels of normalcy. We listened to all parties and the voices of our membership resonated strongly to support the plan as approved in August. The plan aligns with the CHSAA mission. All students have an opportunity to play a season during the 2020-21 school year."
Said Richard Hargrove, superintendent of Springfield Schools and board member: "We are focused on getting school started and running smoothly, as well as handling all the issues of running a school district and trying to have that be as normal as possible. We do not want to travel. The biggest thing for me in the end is that we have continued to move the goalposts, and every time we turned around, we had something else we had to adjust to.
"The discussion (Tuesday) night amplified that there was another potential goalpost movement. We have already developed a calendar that addresses the concerns of health officials, and gives all students a season and a chance to participate. We need to move forward with that plan.”
From new Mullen athletic director Damian Brown: “I think (the CHSAA’s) job is very difficult and it’s truly not up to them to make this decision. It’s the Governor, it’s a lot of people and they have a lot to think about. We have to learn how to deal with it.”
Mustangs principal Jeff Howard said “I am very grateful that (the) CHSAA and the Governor's staff collaborated and discussed the possibility of changing the athletic schedule. There are so many moving parts surrounding us right now that a revisiting of this issue made perfect sense to me. That the decision to recommit to the August schedule remains challenging for many student-athletes is very unfortunate, but a byproduct of the situation we are all in.
“I am very happy that our teams will all compete and, though I wish we had a more traditional schedule, I understand the obstacles to that happening. We are ready to support our student-athletes and coaches in every season this year.”
First-year Mustangs football head coach Jeremy Bennett, similar to others on Wednesday, said “I’m extremely disappointed, not for myself but for the kids, and, again, I will tell you not every kid wakes up in the morning and is excited to be going to (advanced-placement calculus). A lot of them go to school to compete. Take that away from some kids and it’s disappointing.
“We have to be there for our kids and be better at it every day on a daily basis. But I don’t know how you can give something 24 hours for as big of a decision as this is. We have to move forward. Everyone’s had the rug pulled out from under us and we have to go back to the plan we had in place two days ago. Again, it’s disappointing.”
It was a whirlwind of sorts over the past couple of days when Gov. Polis announced he was open to discussion about re-instituting football. Speculation turned rampant. It was widely assumed, especially when considering the state of the schoolboy game nationally, that football would begin. How many practices would be needed to get ready? How many regular-season games? How many teams in playoffs? How many fans permitted in the stands.
Dozens of football coaches who had been networking together insisted their teams would be ready to roll if the ban was lifted Wednesday.
And it spread to other sports. Would the fall sports moved to later in the school year also be allowed to resume play?
However, there will be no change.
To date, Season A, the first of the four new competitive periods (see below), will be the only one for the rest of 2020. It involves cross country, boys golf, softball and boys tennis. And for the first time since their inception, there will be no scholastic sports during November and December. The other new three groups, Seasons B, C and D, will begin after the traditional holiday break.
Hence, thousands of in-state programs will have to continue to settle for off-season training.
“We have to learn how to deal with it,” Brown said. “We have to practice what we preach. Life isn’t easy. Changes come and you have to be able to adapt.
“We’ll do that here at Mullen. We’ll be just fine and we’ll be ready when the time comes to play football.”
Boys golf – Practice began Aug. 3; championship Oct. 17.
Boys tennis – Practice began Aug. 10; championship Sept. 25-26.
Softball -- Practice began Aug. 10; championship Oct. 10.
Cross country -- Practice began Aug. 12; championship Oct. 10.
Boys and girls basketball -- Practice begins Jan. 4; first competition Jan. 7; championship March 6; 13-16 games.
Ice hockey -- Practice begins Jan. 4; first competition Jan. 7; championship TBA; 13 games.
Boys and girls skiing -- Practice begins Jan. 4; first competition Jan. 7; championship Feb. 26.
Spirit -- Practice begins Jan. 4; first competition Jan. 7; championship TBD.
Girls swimming and diving -- Practice begins Jan. 4; first competition Jan. 7; championship TBD; 7 plus league.
Wrestling -- Practice begins Jan. 4; first competition Jan. 7; championship March 6; 7 duals.
Football -- Practice begins Feb. 26; first competition March 4; championship May 8; 7 games.
Field hockey -- Practice begins March 1; first competition March 4; championship TBD; 10 games.
Gymnastics -- Practice begins March 1; first competition March 4; championship TBD; 8 meets.
Boys soccer -- Practice begins March 1; first competition March 4; championship TBD; 10 games.
Unified bowling -- Practice begins March 1; first competition March 4; championship TBD; 6 matches.
Girls volleyball – Practice begins March 1; first competition March 4; championship May 1; 16 matches.
Baseball -- Practice begins April 26; first competition April 29; championship June 26; 13-16 games.
Girls golf -- Practice begins April 26; first competition April 29; championship TBD; 198 holes.
Boys and girls lacrosse -- Practice begins April 26; first competition April 29; championship boys TBD, girls June 23; 10 games.
Girls soccer -- Practice begins April 26; first competition April 29; championship TBD; 10 games.
Boys swimming and diving -- Practice begins April 26; first competition April 29; championship TBD; 7 meets plus league..
Girls tennis -- Practice begins April 26; first competition April 29; championship June 11-12; TBD.’
Boys and girls track and field -- Practice begins April 26; first competition April 29; championship TBD; 8 meets.
Boys volleyball -- Practice begins April 26; first competition April 29; championship June 19; 16 matches.
The Speech festival will begin on. Oct. 1 and conclude on Jan. 30. And the Speech Tournament will be Nov. 1 and end March 20.