Mark Schnabel: Things continue to change quickly

Mark Schnabel
The Kansan

While putting together the weekly calendar of events, I actually got to enter in high school events.

For the upcoming week, there are two high school boys soccer games scheduled, two girls tennis tournaments and four volleyball tournaments.

I’m writing this on Thursday (Aug. 20) ahead of a 10 a.m. Aug. 21 deadline for the Aug. 22 paper, so things could change between now and then. (And during all this, things have changed even quicker).

High school football isn’t scheduled to start until Sept. 4. Most of the preseason jamborees have been canceled.

At least one school district in the state, Kansas City (Kan.), pulled the plug entirely on the fall sports season. The Wichita school board was expected to make a decision sometime today. The Wichita schools earlier decided to cancel all contests outside the Greater Wichita Athletic League (informally known as the Wichita City League). That will force some rescheduling for the Ark Valley-Chisholm Trail League and others, or it may lead to some open dates.

School boards and superintendents are pretty busy trying to come up with plans to keep the schools open — either in person, online or both — making the decision about athletics and activities more difficult.

Other considerations include what will school districts do about fans in the stands — allow them, not allow them or limit them.

Like I said last week — play or no — that decision is well beyond my pay grade. It is complex and fraught with hazards. No easy answers here.

And the interjections of some with politics do nothing to help the matter. The Power 5 football conferences are learning that the hard way.

The pros of returning to play – First, the resumption of workouts that improve the physical fitness of the student body; it improves the morale of the students; resuming activities, both athletic and performing arts, give students motivation to stay more engaged with their classroom work (no study, no play); it relieves boredom (as they used to say back when I was that age, it keeps the kids off the streets); it’s something that brings the school and the community together to rally around.

The cons are we’re dealing with a disease that we don’t completely understand, but we do know it is very hard to treat and it is deadly. While it is less hazardous to younger people, kids that age have died of it (even those without any pre-existing conditions) and there is evidence that long-term damage can be done to the lungs and heart.

We don’t yet know if the immunity for those who recover from it is permanent, like the mumps or the measles, or temporary, like a cold or the flu.

I’m perfectly happy to leave the decision-making to the governor, the state and local health departments, school boards and superintendents, athletic directors, coaches and parents.

SPEAKING OF RAPID CHANGES – While writing this, I received a release from the NAIA about the fall sports championships that have been moved to the spring.

The football championships have been moved to May 10 at the Eddie G. Robinson Stadium at Grambling State. The women’s soccer championships have been moved to April 27 to May 3 at the Ralph Schumacher Soccer Complex in Foley, Ala. The men’s soccer championships have been tentatively moved to May 4 to 10 at Blanchard Woods Park in Columbia County, Ga. Volleyball has been moved to April 27 to May 1, remaining at the Tyson Events Center in Sioux City, Iowa.

Cross country will remain at the Seminole Valley Park in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, moving to April 9.

Mark Schnabel is the sports editor for the Kansan.