The Nebraska School Activities Association board of directors met in open session Monday morning via conference call. The effects of the coronavirus pandemic have created much discussion on how and when to proceed with the upcoming school year and certainly the fall sports season. The board reaffirmed Monday that the plan is for fall sports for Nebraska high schools to begin as scheduled. According to the Omaha World Herald, a series of votes paved the way for organized practices for football, volleyball, girls golf, boys tennis, softball and cross country to start on August 10th as originally scheduled. Eight football teams that have games scheduled before the August 27th start date for other season openers can begin practice on either Wednesday or Thursday this week.
While the decision was made to allow Nebraska high school fall sports to begin as scheduled, there are still questions as to whether or not that is the best thing to do for the larger school districts such as the Omaha area where the impact of COVID-19 has been greater than in some of the smaller rural areas. The OWH stated that board member Thomas Lee, Omaha Northwest principal, floated the possibility that some Omaha-area schools in Class A and Class B want to delay the start of fall sports practices until Aug. 31. Lee said during the meeting, “I’m not sure where we’re at in the metro area. Maybe C and D are ready to start. Maybe B is, too. I think there are a lot of these schools in the metro area that have the same concerns, but do we start at different times for A and B, and C and D?”
Jay Bellar, the executive director of the NSAA, responded that “we don’t know if August 31 is going to be any different than August 10. And so if we can let schools that feel that way, which they’re doing what’s best for those schools and we understand that. Why wouldn’t we let them come in then and participate because if we cut them short, we start late, and it doesn’t get any better, then they’re not going to get anything in.”