Who could be the real losers in athletics this school year

Published 12:16 pm Thursday, July 2, 2020

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     There have been a ton of talk surrounding high school football for the 2020-2021 school year and while football is like the black knight that rides in on horseback to salvage the day for many a school system’s athletic needs, there are other athletes that have to stand back with as much angst as the football team wondering if they will get to play the game they love.
    I will be the very first one to admit that I do not know everything and this column allows me to express my own opinion(s) with our readers and you know what they say about opinions – everybody has one.
    Sometimes you may find my opinions to be spot on and sometimes the very paper you read them in goes automatically to the recycling bin with a roll of the eyes and a ‘who does he think he is’ thought process..and that’s perfectly fine.
    So, here are a few takes on the current status of athletics.
    Even though the TSSAA Board of Directors went in and came out with a four-part suggestion for football when looking at the plan why didn’t they have an option two, three, or even four should the State of Emergency not be lifted by Governor Bill Lee on August 29.
    Folks, as I said I don’t know it all but God has given me some common sense that has paid off well for me over the years and right now my common sense says that if Governor Lee is making all of his decisions by data he is receiving and with the state reporting the highest number of cases on Wednesday, August 29th isn’t going to happen.
    But why not have a contingent plan for 30 to 60 days past that or even if in an abnormal year be ready to roll with an abnormal swap of sports to make sure that another sport doesn’t have it season steamrolled like the high school basketball championships as well as spring sports in 2020.
    Being a leader takes real intestinal fortitude and making unpopular decisions and that seems to be somewhat lacking at this time.
    Football is a cash cow and it has to be played or guess what – there may be an elimination of some sports on down the highway and that stings.
    Branching off the first take, if it falls into the lap of athletic directors and school administrators should the time come to eliminate sports or programs in the school – where do you start?
    Many schools have successful programs in basketball, tennis, track, volleyball, cheerleading, wrestling, baseball, softball, swimming, and I will go even as far as band.
    There is so much riding on the backs of the TSSAA to make the right calls right now and if they do not come through, then some of these programs may be on the chopping block in the not so near future.
    If one doesn’t believe that, just take a look at where colleges are already going in eliminating programs because their budgets just cannot support the additional financial burden.
    I personally don’t want to see this, the schools don’t want to see it, and most definitely the parents and athletes who have invested so much money and time into their sport don’t want to see it – but it’s just a fact of life just like in-home budgets where sometimes a juicy steak sounds great but the money says it’s cereal tonight buddy!
    So, the bottom line is simply this. We are living in unknown and trying times and should athletic programs be faced with the stipulation of eliminating some sports, the real losers are going to be the kids and the community.
    No one wants to even think in this realm but there is a stark reality this could be the case. 
    As a sportswriter who has played sports, followed sports, written sports, and pretty much lived sports, I have come to love sports that I didn’t really care about because I didn’t follow them closely in my younger years such as volleyball and wrestling.
    But over the years, I have come to fall in love with all the aspects of these sports as many others and my heart would be crushed for these athletes SHOULD that time come.
    Let’s all just pray that everything will start falling into place in the right way so these types of decisions won’t be on anyone’s plate to have to make.

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