When COVID-19 reared its ugly head in March, it ended all high school sports for the school year.
In fact, all sports came to a screeching halt.
Since then, some professional sports have returned, while college and high school sports are in limbo.
Should high school sports return this fall? Professional and college sports are big money makers. Baseball, NASCAR and the PGA, NBA and NFL are all attempting play. These all have lucrative television contracts.
COVID-19 is highly contagious and easily spread. Although there are few studies on its effects on teenagers, transmission of the virus does appear to be possible by younger people. As a result, social distancing and masks will be required this fall in schools. But what about sports?
A lot depends on the sport. Individual sports, such as cross country, golf and tennis, require little interaction between participants. The spread of COVID-19 would be minimal if any.
Meanwhile, football, soccer, field hockey and volleyball are team sports where there is some degree of contact between participants, unless you are a defensive player in the Big 12. The possibility of spreading the virus is greatly increased in these sports.
Not only can the participants be exposed to the virus, but spectators are at risk as well. While professional sports – and college sports – can be seen on television, that option is not available to watch your son or daughter.
What could be done? There are three options: go ahead and play, cancel the season or wait until spring.
With the first option, the problem is the same as what happened this winter: The season ends in the middle.
Canceling the season has pros and cons. It would help stop the possible spread of the virus, but many students would lose out an important part of their high school experience, including some who would miss the chance to earn a college scholarship.
Then, there is the third option. There has been talk in the college ranks of playing football in the spring. The season would start in March and go to May.
Some would argue that the weather in March would be too rough to play football, but, in reality, the season would be reversed. Instead of starting in hot weather and playing until it gets cold, it would be the opposite. It would not affect indoor team sports.
In many parts of the country, spring football takes place. In colleges, spring practice is an important part of the year.
Spring football would allow students to participate in an important part of their high school experience. In eight months, the possibility of a vaccine increases. However, if a vaccine is not found by then, the season will still be canceled.
The important thing to remember is that this is a safety issue, not one of convenience.
Brian Love is a freelance sports writer in Cleveland. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.