For most, it is week one of being stuck at home or inside in our global attempt to do the best we can to battle the Coronavirus until a possible vaccine is created or, minimally, we slow down the spread to a manageable level. But if you are like me, you are already chomping at the bit to get back to normalcy and it is only Tuesday! For whatever reason, an idea popped into my mind this morning as to how how we could possibly salvage the spring sports season….no matter how unlikely that may seem at the moment!
First, let’s be real. Our number one goal should be to do what we can to protect mankind. And the best way to do that is to be safe and look out for others. And don’t forget there are others just as much as in need as we are. Cut the hoarding. Don’t panic and be considerate of those around you. I guarantee you we will be much better if cooler heads prevail.
WE CAN DO THIS IF WE WORK TOGETHER. Maybe that’s the lesson were are all to learn once all is said and done!
Secondly, I feel for our athletes, especially the one sport athletes who only play a spring sport and the seniors, the most. I can’t imagine being excited for my least sports season of my career and not getting the chance to play it out! For some, it is the last time they will ever play competitive sports. Again, that is not the priority right now, but we can at least consider “What if!?” After all, some countries who have been fighting this longer than we here in the U.S. are slowly returning to some sense of normalcy. It will happen here, too. Just a matter of when. Hopefully, sooner than later.
So back to “What if?” Not looking good for the spring season to happen, but a random thought popped into my head this morning that the easiest way to salvage the spring season would be to move the entire schedule back several weeks. My initial thought, which I admit I thought was brilliant, was to move everything back exactly one month, but after a couple minutes of thought, I realized the corresponding dates would not work. Friday, April 10 would become Sunday, May 10. Can’t play on a Sunday. That doesn’t work.
But what we can do is move the entire schedule practice schedule back 6 weeks which is the amount of time many professionals say we should stay out of school And move the contest schedule back 5 weeks by deleting one week of practice to prevent the season from getting too near August.
My conclusion was to move each date back 4 weeks (28 days) to a new corresponding date. So Monday, April 6 becomes Monday, May 4. Why would this work? Because no school in Indiana would have to change their spring calendar at all and all could theoretically keep their officials locked into the same games. We are simply sliding the entire schedule back in the same order as it was originally scheduled. Yes, some schools have already cancelled some dates and likely moved a few to new ones, but it wouldn’t be that hard to revert back to the original schedule, but played 4 weeks later. For some officials, the new date may not work, but we are used to that happening now and then. Our goal is to find the EASIEST way to make this a possibility!
So hear me out…..
Based on what is occurring now, most say we need to hunker down (my words) at least 6 weeks. Let’s assume that 6 weeks works. No guarantees, but we can hope for the best. Since most schools shut down on Monday, March 16, if we are out of school for 6 weeks that would put us out through Friday, April 24. If that is sufficient, our first day back to practice (school?) would be Monday, April 27.
Obviously, a lot of kids will be out of shape, but let’s assume that if the kids knew their was a CHANCE they may still have a spring season that most would find a way to start getting into shape. (No, playing Fortnite doesn’t count! :)) Obviously, ball sport athletes would be wise to throw a little every day or two while out.
Let’s say the IHSAA would allow a waiver due to the extreme circumstances. Instead of requiring the usual 10 full days of practice, the IHSAA decided that 10 practices were sufficient to participate in a contest. (NOTE: If we go back to school the week of Monday, April 20 we would just revert back to the current rule of 10 days of practice.) That would make the week of April 27 “Eligibility Week.” To go a step further, all sports at every school in Indiana would be allowed to practice twice a day for a maximum of 2 hours each practice (4 total hours per day). This would help assure coaches don’t over do it that first week. This plan gives all athletes 6 full days to get 12 practices in and, obviously, their 10 practices in to meet the new contest eligibility requirements for this season. In short, you are eligible to participate when you get our 10 practices in rather than 10 days. (And, again, only due to the current circumstances.)
The contest season would then start on Monday, May 4. So here’s how the new schedule would work. We would remove all contest weeks through Saturday, April 4. In reality, very few schools have many contests prior to that date anyway due to the cold and spring break. So we would start with an “original” first contest date of Monday, April 6. The new date for contests on Monday, April 6 would become Monday, May 4. Your April 7 schedule would be played on May 8. Etc, etc.
The only concern is that Monday, April 27 becomes Monday, May 25 which is Memorial Day. Schools would have two choices that day. Either play all contests after 5pm or simply move contests off that date. We currently play the baseball sectional that date so it doesn’t necessarily have to become a non-usable date. (Not to disrespect Memorial Day, but similar to how fall sports use Labor Day.) At least the 5pm start gives families time to be together that day.
Any weeks not in school would simply be cut from the schedule. The first week back would be “Eligibility Week” then we would start the next week wherever we are in the schedule. (We would likely not make-up weeks missed except for conference games. Of course, that would make things more challenging and the longer it went, the more likely we do not play this spring.)
Shown below is how the whole schedule would slide back. Some comments below have already been shared above, but I will leave those in. I have also tinkered with the tournament schedule to try to work around the July 4 holiday. (NOTE: The IHSAA could tinker with the schedule as necessary.)
In short, to keep the season from getting too near August, we will have to use that week and ONLY those athletes/sports still participating that week would not serve moratorium that week. In those cases, anyone who played through Moratorium that week would be required to sit out the next week that they are not still playing. Right now, only golf and baseball would play the following week, but we can schedule things to wrap up all sports seasons by Saturday, July 11. This would also allow all tournaments to conclude on either the weekend of June 26-27 or July 10-11.
Of course, none of this is useful if things get more challenging. The important part is that everyone gets through this safely as possible. Be kind to one another and, again, TOGETHER, WE CAN GET THROUGH THIS.
Probably a pipe dream, but just in case things work out, here’s my idea for getting the spring season in. It is shared from a spreadsheet so hopefully it share in a readable manner.
|Old to New Spring Sport Date Transfer Sheet||R=Thursday|
|IHSAA waives the 10 day rule for one year due to circumstances. It becomes 10 practices.|
|-All teams may have 2 2-hour practices a day from April 27-May 2 to try to get their 10 practices in.|
|-This gives each team 6 days (12 practice possibilities using M-S)|
|-This makes all things equal for becoming eligible for all athletes in all schools.|
|-Like usual, it may take some athletes more time to get their 10 practices in (not eligible until they do).|
|IHSAA moves the entire schedule back 28 days.|
|-Therefore all schedule are exactly the same as scheduled beginning with original date of April 6.|
|-No school would have to change ANYTHING about their schedules and “it works immediately.”|
|-Most schools are either on spring break during or just prior to that week anyway.|
|-It also begins the contest schedule in May to allow 6 full weeks for Coronavirus prevention.|
|-From a mental standpoint in dealing with all this, starting in May makes more sense.|
|-If we are forced to continue with prevention, we simply delay the start until able, cancelling the weeks in order “as we go”).|
|-In that case, the 10 practice week would begin the first week schools were allowed to return to school or practice.|
|-Any schools that were not allowed to participate due to district policy, would cancel their contests.|
|Original Date||—>||New Date||Original Date||—>||New Date||Original Date||—>||New Date|
|R||Apr||30||—>||R||May||28||*due to Memorial Day, all contests (since regular season) must begin after 5pm|
|IHSAA Tournament Dates||R=Thursday|
|-Tournament is scheduled around the July 4th holiday as much as possible.|
|-This section might require some tinkering as necessary.|
|-Due to circumstances, Moratorium Week would not pertain to any teams playing in the tournament that week.|
|-Any athletes participating during Moratorium Week would be required to serve their moratorium the week of July 6.|
|Girls Track||Boys Track||Unified Track|
|Sectional:||M, June 15||T, June 16||S (am), June 20|
|Regional:||F, June 19||S (pm), June 20||*no regional|
|State:||F, June 26||S (pm), June 27||S (am), June 27|
|Sectional:||M-F, June 22-26||T-S, June 23-27|
|Regional:||T, June 30||R & M, July 2 & 6|
|Semi-State||M, July 6||S, July 11|
|State:||F-S, July 10-11||S, July 18|
|Girls Tennis||Boys Golf|
|Sectional:||W-S, June 17-20||W, R & M: July 1, 2 & 6|
|Regional:||T-W, June 23-24||W-R: July 8-9|
|(S&D):||R, July 2|
|Semi-State||S, June 27|
|State:||F, July 3||F-S: July 10-11|
|(S&D):||F-S, July 10-11|
NOTE: Baseball tournament could combine Semi-State and Finals on F, July 10 and S, July 11 to complete the tournament a week earlier. This would wrap up the entire spring season by July 11. Doing so would play all state finals on two weekends….
F-S, June 26-27: Track
F-S, July 10-11: Softball, Baseball, Tennis & Golf