BG Govenor Sports

Gov. Larry Hogan and State Superintendent of Schools Karen Salmon announced that high school sports can resume during a press conference in Frederick on Thursday.

Gov. Larry Hogan and state Superintendent of Schools Karen Salmon cleared the way for high school sports to resume in Maryland during a visit to Frederick Thursday.

After touring the Frederick County Career and Technology Center, Hogan and Salmon announced that formal high school sports practices can begin Oct. 7 with the goal of beginning a fall sports season Oct. 27.

The state officials cited improving COVID-19 metrics across the state for reaching their decision. But they provided no formal guidance on how to safely make it happen or overcome the myriad of logistical challenges of starting a fall sports season when the weather is turning colder and it is typically winding down. 

At a time when most students are learning virtually, and haven't returned to school buildings in large numbers, the decision to conduct a high school sports season will be left to each individual school district. All retain the right to opt out of this plan. 

If they choose to do so, they can implement the state athletic governing body's already released plan to play abbreviated fall, winter and spring seasons in the second semester, beginning in February.

Following the governor's announcement, Montgomery County Public Schools announced it would not conduct a sports season this fall.

The Frederick County Board of Education will ultimately make the decision for Frederick County Public Schools athletics. The issue is likely to be front-and-center at the next Board of Education meeting Oct. 7.

In the meantime, Board President Brad Young said the board will defer to FCPS' Return to Play Committee for further guidance.

The committee was formed in June to help facilitate the return of high school sports and had previously allowed voluntary, non-contact conditioning and skills-based workouts to occur over the summer and into the school year.

"There are a lot of unknowns still there about how to do this safely," Young said.

Hogan said parents have been strongly encouraging him to bring high school sports back, going as far as to protest outside of his Annapolis home.

Additionally, a group of parents and students rallied outside the Frederick County Board of Education office during its meeting on Wednesday.

When asked about the timing of this decision, Hogan said, "Our health metrics have hit record lows every single day for the past week, and we have been trending downward for more than three months. Because we now have all 24 jurisdictions with a plan to bring some kids back in class, we thought it was time to address this.

"We have been working on this for months. I think the State Department of Education and all of our health experts thought we were able to move forward." 

Hogan also cited that many youth sports leagues have already resumed playing.

"We are not going to do anything that endangers our kids," he said. "But we think it's really important to try and make efforts to get more of them back into face-to-face instruction and give them some of the sports activity that they also need."

Salmon noted that, if school systems opt out or implement the second-semester plan outlined by the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association, nearly a calendar year will pass without some students having any involvement in sports or athletic activities.

"It's just very concerning," she said.

FCPS supervisor of athletics and extracurricular activities Kevin Kendro said the school system and Return for Play Committee will follow the procedures they had already been following.

He said the school system takes great pride in how much the communities value high school sports. He said that FCPS adheres to the guidance of the Frederick County Health Department and MPSSAA in developing any return-to-play plans.

The fall sports season for high schools in Maryland consists of football, boys and girls soccer, field hockey, volleyball, cross country and golf.

The season typically starts at the beginning of September. By the middle of November, most sports have completed their seasons except for football. Its 14-week season usually concludes during the first week of December.

Under the directive from Hogan and Salmon, golf will be able to resume competition on Oct. 7, just as the other sports are able to begin practices.

The fall season will run from Oct. 27 to Dec. 12. Any playoffs would take place between Dec. 14 and 19.

Winter sports —basketball, wrestling, swimming and diving and indoor track and field — could begin practice on Dec. 14, while spring sports — lacrosse, baseball, softball, tennis, track and field, could start practice as soon as Jan. 4.

Hogan and Salmon said additional details would be coming from the MPSSAA.

"Getting our kids back on the playing field and allowing youth sports to resume this fall is critical for the social and mental well-being of our students," Hogan said.

Among the unanswered questions is whether spectators will be allowed at the sporting events. Hogan said that all gatherings must be capped at 250, per his own administration's guidelines to combat the novel coronavirus.

Young wondered if the schools would be required to administer temperature checks prior to each athletic contest and be responsible for getting students to games who can't get there on their own.

"How do we do this without most of our kids being in school?" he said. "There are a lot of questions that need to be answered."

Follow Greg Swatek on Twitter: @greg_swatek

(22) comments

jth7100

Sports and Obama, five letters. Coincidence, I think not!

phydeaux994

Good grief people, do you really believe that kids with their cars and their phones haven’t been gathering in droves all Summer at the beach or a local park?? The younger kids in our neighborhood have been playing baseball and now football in the open space behind our house everyday all summer. We’ll have a dozen or more bikes coming in from the whole neighborhood. Every other house on our street has a basketball net, it gets crowded at night at the nets closest to the street lights. You think you can keep kids all cooped up in the house with Mom and Dad trying to work??? Get real. Sis boom bah.

Greg F

And this is why it hasn’t gone lower in many places...I don’t want emu of them anywhere nearby or to the stores and shops to go spreading it. It is inevitable if let to their own devices. Look at the U.K.

threecents

Hogan's statement that "we are not going to do anything that endangers our kids" is disingenuous. Of course it will endanger the kids playing...and their contacts... and their contacts... I am not saying the risks are not worth it, but let's not pretend that Covid-19 is gone. I don't know about Maryland, but nationwide experts think we will get another wave of infections pretty soon.

gabrielshorn2013

Already happening in Europe three.

phydeaux994

We’re still in the first wave. You’ve got to flatten the curve down in the 5-10% range to say it’s under control.

PurplePickles aka L&M

@threecents

Actually experts think we will get another wave of irresponsible idiots pretty soon, first the irresponsible idiots then the infections, they just can’t say irresponsible idiots out loud. But that’s exactly what they are thinking, I can’t believe they haven’t said the quiet part out loud! They should, maybe we’d pay attention better?

TomWheatley

Hogan has his ups and downs, but at least he is not signing executive orders that take effect 15 years from now. Be interesting to see how that plays out.

https://www.npr.org/2020/09/23/916209659/california-governor-signs-order-banning-sales-of-new-gasoline-cars-by-2035

DickD

Sports can continue but will there be any spectators? I think not. You might get them on NFHS. Which might be best as cold weather is coming.

HappySeller2014

Well, MD high school football season usually ends first week in December after three weeks of playoffs.

That is 70 days away.

This is a pipe dream. No organized practices to date. Many kids just sitting around, no weightlifting, cardio or strength training.

Now, as pandemic numbers starting to creep up again, yes, let's put kids back on the fields where they will be in even more peril of injuries. You need a training season to get these kids up and ready.

Just dumb.

HappySeller2014

Understandably dumb decision. Hogan built up a lot of political good will at the start of COVID-19, but now he is squandering it.

Kids not physically in school, but time to open up sports?

No fans in stands, so no revenue coming in. No food/drink will be served.

Kids on large teams packed into school buses for transportation.

Cost/benefit here errs way on the side of not starting up. MLB postponing games. College football postponing games. FCPS should keep all extracurricular activities locked down until Spring 2021, if that. Kids can concentrate on hitting the books.

PurplePickles aka L&M

@happyseller 2014

It’s like no one is capable of thinking things through far enough or long enough? Hogan is an irresponsible idiot but I should know by now that most Republicans are irresponsible idiots

newspostreader

Don't worry. I'm sure Jan will make sure it doesn't happen in Frederick County.

TomWheatley

"Hello, Goodbye"

The Beatles

You say yes, I say no

You say stop and I say go go go, oh no

bpswp

Has Hogan ever watched a football game? I can see it now. Tackles, players breathing heavily on each other - Bingo - players infected, take infection home, infection numbers rise.

gramps

As I look outside I can see it. Yes the sky is actually falling!

NewMarketParent

@gramps

You should really take your reality denial over there ------>

DickD

Gramps did. [lol]

fjulia

It's nice to know that athletics is more important than sickness, death, or education. At a time when over 200,000 Americans have died, we need sports more than a safe and equitable learning environment.

mgoose806

[yawn]

dabittle

We would all do well to have as much concern about inculcating young people with the knowledge necessary to get them into college as we seem to about getting the school system to restart school sports.

lynnemezzo

[thumbup][thumbup]

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it clean. No vulgar, racist, sexist or sexually-oriented language.
Engage ideas. This forum is for the exchange of ideas, not personal attacks or ad hominem criticisms.
TURN OFF CAPS LOCK.
Be civil. Don't threaten. Don't lie. Don't bait. Don't degrade others.
No trolling. Stay on topic.
No spamming. This is not the place to sell miracle cures.
No deceptive names. Apparently misleading usernames are not allowed.
Say it once. No repetitive posts, please.
Help us. Use the 'Report' link for abusive posts.

Thank you for reading!

Already a member?

Login Now
Click Here!

Currently a News-Post subscriber?

Activate your membership at no additional charge.
Click Here!

Need more information?

Learn about the benefits of membership.
Click Here!

Ready to join?

Choose the membership plan that fits your needs.
Click Here!