Shawnee Mission among league schools not beginning football practice as normal

Sports

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — Just days away from the scheduled start of football practice in Johnson County, it looks like most schools won’t have players in pads. 

Some players and their parents aren’t happy about it.

While the goal of football is to move the ball into the red zone and beyond, now area schools are hoping the community moves into the “green zone.”

Shawnee Mission Director of Athletics Richard Kramer said he’s simply following the advice of the National Federation of High Schools when it comes to high risk activities for the coronavirus.

That advice says there shouldn’t be football, band, choir and performing arts, unless the county has less than 5% positive cases and numbers aren’t increasing.

Right now, the number is just above 10% in Johnson County.

“Our intent is to have every activity. We want to have those activities, but we also have to know that we have to have the safety of those participants and families and caretakers in mind,” Kramer said.

But some parents say the gating numbers can be skewed if only people who think they’ve been exposed are being tested.

“At the end of the day this is about what’s best for our kids. We know that our kids need to be in the gym or be on the field because it’s part of their development that makes them better prepared beyond high school,” Paul Schmidt said.

“Kids hopes and dreams are on the line,” Wayne Krause said.

Though all fall middle school sports have been postponed until January at Shawnee Mission because of transportation concerns, high school sports like soccer and volleyball will start Monday.

As for football, they’ll keep conditioning and doing limited drills without pads or contact.

“So when we get this green light to move forward, we will be ready and we can start in the quickest most expedient way,” Kramer said.

Kramer said that’s his understanding of how 11 of the 14 schools in the Sunflower League will proceed, but not everyone is following those guidelines.

Desoto USD 232 Athletic Director Jerald VanRheen said at this point the plan is for Mill Valley to start practicing on Monday. He said if the rest of the league isn’t playing, the school would look to add other teams to create a fall football schedule. 

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