Time keeps on slipping…

Published 11:26 am Friday, July 17, 2020

The Steve Miller Band came out with a song back in the day by the title of ‘Time Keeps on Slippin’ and boy how true the title of that song is when it comes to what is coming down the pike for fall sports and sports in general.
 
It’s very obvious that the TSSAA doesn’t have a clue as to what to do and they are keeping their fingers, toes, and whatever else they can cross for luck hoping like nobodies business that Governor Lee doesn’t extend the State of Emergency in Tennessee.
 
However, just across the state line in Virginia, they are not hee-hawing around with what their options are as they have already come up with three scenarios with none of those including fall football being played.
 
The three models that the VHSL is looking at and will be voting on are as follows:
Model 1: Only golf and cross country in the fall. All other fall sports canceled.
  • Model 2: Spring sports (except lacrosse) being shifted to the fall and vice versa.
  • Model 3: All sports played in truncated seasons from Dec. 14-June 26.
    • Winter Sports would be held Dec. 14-Feb. 20 (First playdate: 12/28). Fall Sports would be held Feb. 15-May 1 (First playdate: 3/1); Spring Sports would be held April 12-June 26 (First playdate: 4/26).
By looking at all three models, two of those appear to give football the chance of being played either in the spring or in a short season from February 15th to May 1st in 2021.
 
The greatest fear that as a Sports Editor I have will be with the dragging of feet to have a concrete plan in place is if word coming from Governor Bill Lee to end the State of Emergency is what the TSSAA leadership is waiting for, then all sports are endangered for student-athletes including another lost season for baseball and softball.
 
Already with the decision by the VHSL, there are teams in Northeast Tennessee that will be impacted such as Unaka who had a game scheduled with Rye Cove, VA on the 2020 slate.
 
Other teams that had to reach across the border to find games to schedule to fill their 10 game season will also feel the impact with the decision not to play football by the VHSL.
Add to that the fact that on the other side of the line in North Carolina, those schools are facing the same quandary with COVID-19 numbers climbing in that state as well.
 
I know that most would prefer that I wouldn’t even bring this up but the facts are the facts and its hard to just blink your eyes like a Genie and make everything disappear.
 
I surely hope that the TSSAA doesn’t get caught with its pants down as Executive Director Bernard Childress hasn’t budged from swapping seasons which could be a death toll should things continue on at its current pace.
He recently stated that the didn’t want the spring sports to miss out on two seasons in a row and had concerns that athletes that play football would be at risk of more injuries if they played back-to-back seasons moving from spring 2021 to a fall 2021 season.
However, if the spring sports aren’t allowed to play in the fall that is the exact risk they face because football once again is where athletic coffers are able to provide for all the other sports and will need to be played – even if it is in the spring.
Also, consider that most football teams take a week off after the season and get right back into conditioning for the next season which kind of debunks that logic.
I understand that most coaches are concerned about how the prep season might not line up with the collegiate season in regard to moving on to the next level.
 
But now even college football coaches that once felt strongly that there would be a fall football season are beginning to waver and shift their thought process about football in the fall and looking toward the spring.
 
The recent NASCAR race at Bristol I believe was a trial run in the eyes of Governor Lee and while for the most part people were social distancing, mask-wearing once again was being rebelled against even at the finish line when a large group gathered to celebrate Chase Elliott’s victory.
 
So, here we stand three weeks from the start of school and about six weeks away from finding out what Gov. Lee is going to do with his State of Emergency.
 
This week has been a bad week in Carter County and surrounding counties as COVID-19 continues to grow by double digits almost daily.
 
It is hard to fathom that six weeks is going to make that much of a difference in those numbers.
 
Meanwhile, time just keeps on slipping and without a plan in place so are the likelihood of sports being played in the fall and possibly even the spring.