Will high schools have fall football...fall sports? In short, the answer is unclear, but Executive Director of the Louisiana High School Athletics, Eddie Bonine, is trying to guide high school sports through the constantly morphing challenges of a pandemic. "We're still in the LHSAA phase two, typical summer phase. We will be in phase two until August 10th" Bonine told Bobby Hebert and me on Sports Talk.
Governor John Bell Edwards will decide on July 20th if Louisiana will enter phase three of reopening. So what or who is helping the LHSAA arrive at a possible safe return to fall sports? "We're listening to the LDH (Louisiana Department of Health). We're also leaning on Dr. Greg Stewart of Tulane, he is the chairman of the LHSAA advisory committee. We are not making a unalateral decision here," Bonine explained.
The LHSAA has some options in case it’s not possible to play FOOTBALL this fall. "I would be open to that. We're going to take this one step at a time. It's a fluid scenario,” Bonine acknowledged and stopped short of saying that would be a last ditch effort.
Just like the NFL, college football and other sports, the LHSAA is trying to hit a moving target learning more information every day that could sway their ultimate decision.
The good news is there is still some time before a finite decision has to be rendered. Bonine pledged he and the LHSAA are going to be careful. "I'm an educator at heart. We truly believe in getting student education back on track. We're going to use common sense to make that happen and insert athletics safely. We have to take it a little bit at a time,” affirmed Bonine.
It's very possible the season gets delayed or some of the season get's chopped up. Some games might be canceled. The Louisiana State Championship football games are hosted by the Mercedes Benz Superdome in the second weekend in December. It's a big selling point for players and coaches to play on the same field as the beloved New Orleans Saints.
Will the LHSAA be open to the possibility of moving the dates of championship weekend or even check out other venues as a possibility for title games? "We're going to keep all the options on the table of where we could potentially play. If we can't get in a season in order to get to the Superdome, we've talked to management about potentially moving the dates of the state championship games," explained Eddie Bonine.
I've been critical of the LHSAA in the past, but I applaud Bonine and this organization for thoughtful leadership during this difficult time...for making the decision to return to fall sports carefully.