KSHSAA gives OK for high school winter sports in Kansas — but no fans allowed

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February 07 2021 05:30 pm

TOPEKA, Kan. — Kansas student athletes will get a shot at their winter sports season, but it won’t come without new rules for participants and their families.

From shooting hoops to pinning opponents on the mat and racing across the swimming pool, Kansas middle and high school students will get a chance to compete this winter, just not with the full season many were hoping for.

“Here we are eight months later, and athletes are now facing a shell of their expected winter seasons,” student athlete Dryden Cosens said.

Sports and activities can keep practicing and having games through most of December. But the Kansas State High School Activities Association is now banning activities and practices from Dec. 23-Jan. 7.  

The high school basketball season will be limited to 20 games, but there will not be a maximum game limit enforce for wrestling, swimming/diving, wrestling or bowling.

The biggest change is that no fans will be allowed for any middle or high school winter sports, starting Dec. 1, all the way through Jan. 28. This affects swimming, basketball, bowling, wrestling and scholar quiz. (However, debate tournaments and swimming/diving are still permitted to host virtual competitions during this time.) 

“Are we really willing to cheat kids out of opportunities from a virus that doesn’t really affect them?” Louisburg parent Craig Holtzen asked.

“The recent deterioration of Kansas health has been significant. The trajectory is not good. While it’s more an adult issue, we cannot have student activities without adults being involved in it,” said Bill Faflick, KSHSAA director.

KSHSAA also agreed everyone involved in winter school activities must wear a face mask, except when students or officials are actively playing and officiating. Doctors who helped draft the new KSHSAA rules said it’s important those safety guidelines are enforced to prevent spread.

There’s already some chatter of possible litigation against the “no fans” policy. After Jan. 28, schools can opt to begin allowing limited game attendance, with proper social distancing.

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