As the start of the school year approaches, there has been a lot of focus on whether students should go back to school and if interscholastic athletics should return.
These topics have been discussed repeatedly and it seems clear: There is no one-size-fits-all answer that will satisfy (in no particular order) schools, teachers, coaches, parents and students.
As the state associations that oversee high school athletics in eight states, however, we know the importance of getting our student-athletes back on the courts and playing fields. It has been well
documented by the National Federation of State High School Associations that:
Put simply, our student-athletes need us right now.
However, the return to athletic competition must be done safely. As the United States has battled the current global health pandemic this year, it has become evident that much remains unknown about COVID-19, including how the disease affects children.
“We continue to look for the best way to return to competition as fast as we can while doing so in a safe manner,” said Clark Ray, executive director of the DC State Athletic Association. “This is a
critical time in the lives and development of our student-athletes, whether this is the last time they suit up for their team or if they are hoping to go on to play in college. From talking with my
colleagues, we all understand the significance of providing structure in a time when so much is uncertain.”
Standing to the side and watching is not what we want to do. Whether it is leading virtual workouts or chalk talks or having small group workouts that are socially distanced, our high school athletic programs are best positioned to help student-athletes retain some structure during this uncertain time.
We know that many club sports programs have resumed activity. It is not known whether all of these clubs have implemented best practices for dealing with COVID-19 restrictions.
We have long said that education-based athletics provide the most structed environment for our student-athletes. Our coaches, many of whom are teachers with years of professional training and
experience, are the people who are best positioned to lead our student-athletes. We need to be creative and find ways for these coaches to work with their student-athletes as much as possible while remaining safe.
“This is the time to think outside the box and figure out how we can provide the most opportunities for our student-athletes,” Ray said. “This will not be a traditional school year and it will not be a traditional sports calendar. In DC, we are consulting with our public, public charter and private school representatives, as well as public health leaders, to chart a course of action and do whatever we can to get our coaches and student-athletes back on the playing fields and courts.”
Clark Ray is the executive director of the DC State Athletic Association. The DCSAA is part of the National Federation of State High School Associations’ Section II, which is comprised of DC,
Delaware, Kentucky, Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia.
Washington, DC – The District of Columbia State Athletic Association today announced it has postponed interscholastic athletics in the 2020-21 school year until January 2021, due to the ongoing public health crisis.
Subject to final approval by the Mayor and the DC Department of Health, the DCSAA will implement a Condensed Interscholastic Plan for the 2020-21 school year. While sports will not be played in the fall, this model allows for all sports to have seasons during the 2020-21 school year.
“Given the current environment, it just is not feasible to begin practice August 1 and competition later that month,” DCSAA Executive Director Clark Ray said. “The safety of student-athletes and coaches remains our top priority. We have consulted with DC Health, our member public, public charter and private schools to discuss the options for having athletics this school year. Given the current science and data, this is the best solution to allow our student-athletes to compete in 2020-21.”
The Condensed Interscholastic Plan has three playing seasons, beginning with the winter season, followed by fall and then spring. Each season will have a three-week preseason and a six-week regular season, followed by league playoffs and DCSAA state championships.
“These are unprecedented times and first and foremost the DCSAA remains committed to the welfare of our student-athletes,” said Rosalyn Overstreet-Gonzalez, D.C. State Athletic
Commission chairperson. “We are hopeful this model will keep all of our incredible student athletes engaged and focused and also allow them to take the court or the field this school year
and showcase their talents.”
Caleb Williams navigated a long, intense recruitment, and that recruitment had only one goal — to put him in the best position to be the No. 1 pick of the 2024 NFL draft.
In the end, one offensive juggernaut made the choice look easy. Williams, the Gonzaga superstar and the nation’s No. 1 quarterback in the Class of 2021, committed to Oklahoma on Saturday night. LSU and Maryland were Williams’s other finalists.
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