Minnesota High School Football and Baseball Should Flip
I've visited with a number of high school football coaches and virtually every one of them agrees there is no way to play football and socially distance. My suggestion to the Minnesota State High School League is to play baseball this fall and move football to the spring. I see no reason why you can't have girls swimming, cross country and volleyball.
Not everybody likes that idea but if you want boys to play sports in the fall in my opinion that's what will have to happen. There is no sport with more contact than football. Soccer could be another sport that might have to be played in the spring.
Faribault High School Activities Director Keith Badger does not like the idea because he says baseball could have last spring and the fall taken away if schools start with distance learning. The Minnesota Department of Education says they will let schools know by July 27 what model of opening to prepare for.
The reason I want to flip is obvious. We might have a vaccine by the spring and baseball can be played with some modifications for social distancing. It's being proven right now with Minnesota amateur baseball being played.
There will be COVID-19 positives without a doubt among athletes in all sports and maybe coaches or fans. That's a given. As long as the MSHSL doesn't shut down entire teams because of a few positives. Require testing of course when that happens but allow those with negative results to continue to play or coach.
Kenyon-Wanamingo Activities Director Randy Hockinson has been the Head Baseball and Football Coach in the district in past years. He says flipping is a great idea if it means kids get to play the sports they love. Hockinson also knows there are some kids that are in school because of sports. It is what keeps them in school.
Faribault High School Head Baseball Coach Charlie Lechtenberg told me he would move the sport ahead into the summer. Something Hockinson says he's wanted to do for a number of years.
I worked in Iowa for a few years where they do play high school baseball in summer and agree the weather is much better for the sport. Plus you get in more games. More at bats and more innings pitched. Start in the middle of May end in July.
It would interfere with American Legion baseball but maybe they could run the program and save school districts and MSHSL some money running tournaments and purchasing equipment and uniforms.
Coach Lechtenberg and Hockinson are not in favor of that suggestion. Both believe the high school tournaments generate more interest. My thought is if American Legion was all you had for high school aged baseball then the interest would grow.
Faribault High School Head Football Coach Ned Louis is in favor of the flipping scenario if his guys get to play football. That's the bottom line he says, fall or spring "let's play football."
Badger told KDHL the MSHSL has indicated Activities Directors will get some direction from them by August 4th. Fall sports training camps begin August 17th. He says despite some rumors to the contrary there has been NO discussion about flipping the sports seasons of baseball and football for high school boys. There has been discussions about starting later and shortening seasons.
I pointed out football is the best revenue sport for the high schools and Badger says while that is true it is not something that would influence his decision about what to do. Fairness is what he believes in. He doesn't want baseball players to lose their spring season and then get moved to the fall and miss out again.
On another note Badger says Faribault girls hockey will not co-op with another school this winter. The Falcons will field a team. The numbers are definitely down but they believe they can put a competitive team on the ice.