The University Interscholastic League has announced that it aims to start limited summer strength and conditioning on June 8 — with more details to be released later this week.
TAPPS also announced it would start summer conditioning on June 1 with a limit of no more than four participants per coach, no equipment allowed, and social distancing must be adhered to.
What this means is something, for coaches and administrators but until the details are hammered out, they remain in a holding pattern.
“I am excited that we are
going to be able to reconcile and get going,” Goose Creek Memorial football coach Shannon Carter said. “Of course, we are excited and optimistic. I am like the next man: You don’t know. This is a hundred-year thing. My concern is the same as the entire world. It’s such a new virus so you don’t know which way it’s going to go from a public safety standpoint.”
Sterling High School football coach Robert Toomer said he has had personal experiences with knowing some close to him die from complications caused by the virus.
“Kids look at you sometimes as a coach and role model and think things don’t happen to you,” Toomer said. “This is how serious this pandemic is, and it hits home. I lost three relatives and four classmates. Those were rough times at the beginning of it. For my domain and where I am at as coach, I don’t have the knowledge if it’s too early to reopen. “Personally, I would like to err on the side of caution because of the people I’ve lost.”
Robert E. Lee head football coach Tim Finn is pleased to see the UIL trending toward a return.
“I feel like everybody needs this back to activity thing,” Finn said. “We need to take our precautions of course, but we need to get back to being active.
“I am under the opinion that we are going to have to be a lot more aware and cautious and get people get back to doing things under the precautionary guidelines and see if we can maintain and keep this thing from spreading. We will never know until we get back out there and it’s time for us to get back out there.”
Finn noted he likes the idea of having trainers taking temperatures of players before hitting the competitive field and encouraging coaches and players to stay home if they don’t feel well.
Coaches admit they’ve entertained thoughts of ‘What if,’ and now they may be able to put some into practice.
“We have had meetings and got a lot of work done and stayed in contact with our kids so it’s business as usual from that standpoint,” Carter said. “You have to plan as if the season is going to occur. The unknown of the virus and public safety and health is my main concern. I am in the middle right there.
“I am a football coach and we are coaching non-stop. It is a pile of unknowns. Something is better than nothing for me as long as we are safe.”
Toomer thinks football coaches can find ways to get work in with smaller groups by focusing on areas like building blocks of the sport than playing the sport itself to full contact from out of the gate.
“We can spread out and do our drills where we won’t be on top of each other.
“Beginning of the season you worry about conditioning. We haven’t worked on physicality, but we can work on being in better shape.”
Finn added that families should have the option to choose involvement unimpeded and thinks there will be those who choose to participate to simply get back into the groove.
“I don’t want to get anyone started into it too heavily until I know what we are dealing with,” Finn said.
On Monday, Gov. Greg Abbott eased restrictions for several businesses. That includes reopening child care centers, Scouts and other youth groups, and massage and tattoo services. His plans also include a limited reopening of bars, bingo halls and bowling alleys Friday, when restaurants will be allowed to expand to half their capacity. He mentioned youth sports such as Little League baseball can reopen.
Abbott also said that school districts can provide summer school beginning June 1 as long as they adhere to safe distancing practices and other health protocols.
UIL suspended all sanctioned contests due to the outbreak of COVID-19 on March 13. Sports such as soccer, tennis, golf, softball and baseball were not able to finish their respective seasons before the shutdown.