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Monday looms large for future of fall sport, coach Johns gives us his take

Published: Jul. 17, 2020 at 6:08 PM CDT
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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG) -Monday is expected to be a very big day for high school athletes and coaches across our area and around the state.

At the very least the decision on whether or not to delay the start of official practice for volleyball and football will be made. Currently that start date Monday the 27th. The FHSAA could push that back two weeks, or maybe more.

Many coaches in our area fear it could end up worse than that! The fear is the FHSAA will shut down all summer workouts currently going on, and either push back the start of fall sports for several weeks, or even push them back into the spring. And of course the worst case scenario, just cancel fall sports altogether.

Wewa football coach and A.D. Bobby Johns, who's also on the FHSAA Board, talked to me Friday via Skype, and we spoke about these fears!

"Well you know Scot my issue from the beginning, my concern from the beginning has not been necessarily pushing back." coach Johns told me. "It is pushing back without a real reason that's documented that we are going to be better off at any certain date that we push back to, then we are at the start? And my biggest concern is that we're all wrapped up in the start date, when are we going to end? That is the least of our concerns, I believe. What are we going to do when a kid tests positive? What are we going to do if an entire classroom at the school tests positive? And has to be quarantined? What's going to happen if we have to end up shutting school down? Or not shutting down but sending kids home and then going back to distance-learning? To me the start date is so irrelevant, compared to all these other issues. But we have to start at some point!"

The coach says he believes the way to go is to continue to listen to what the Governor and Commissioner of Education say, and right now, they seem intent on kids going back to school as scheduled come August.

"If you go all the way back to the spring," coach Johns said "the FHS AA did not shut down until the governors shut schools down. So to me, going ahead and starting, which is what the governor has said, we are going to try to go back to school as best we can in brick and mortar schools. Obviously some school systems are going to have more virtual than others. More distance learning than other. But for the most part he has said we need to go back to school, which I agree with. So why not plan to start athletics? And with then will start to deal with the problems as they come. Rather than to continue to push it back. Because once you push that start date back other questions start coming up That have nothing to do with the virus."

And if the decision is made to push volleyball and football back, well says coach Johns, opens up another can of worms. He uses football as the example here, but he says the same would hold true for the volleyball athletes.

“Then you’re starting football right after Christmas, which is in the meat of basketball season.” says Johns. “So every kid that is playing basketball has either got to quit basketball and go to football? Or they don’t get to play football. And for a school like ours, a school like Port Saint Joe, Blountstown, I’m sure even the Arnolds and the Mosleys, schools like that, now you take a huge percentage of the better athletes that are two, maybe three sports stars and they have to choose. It’s gonna kill basketball if you pull them away and play football! You’re going to kill football if the basketball players can’t play. And nobody’s asked the question what about football rolling into baseball season?”

And then there's financial concerns, especially if you slide back seasons and that causes games to be lost.

Again, we should have some answers come Monday.

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