Wewa A.D. expresses his concern over Fall Task Force and it’s intentions.
PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG) -It is a big question, and one with no definitive answer at this point. Will we see high school athletics begin on time in the fall? And is therea chance we could see fall sports canceled altogether?
Those among the questions being talked about during a Zoom meeting Thursday afternoon of the so caLled Fall Sports Task Force, A group led by the FHSAA Board of Directors President, Lauren Otero, an administrator at Plant High School in Tampa.
That task force Thursday sticking with its recommendation to the FHSAA that it delay the start of fall sports workouts, like volleyball and football, for at least a couple of weeks, until August 10th. Schools in the Panhandle are holding summer workouts for those sports, just Thursday we visited the Arnold volleyball squad working out at Surfside. And the Wewa Gators on the football field. Similar workouts are not taking place in South and Central Florida!
While at Wewa, Julia caught up with head coach and A.D. Bobby Johns, who was the FHSAA Board President last year, and still a current board member. But when he asked to be a part of the Fall Sports Task Force, coach Johns, that request was denied. Coach Johns telling us while he has no beef with the FHSAA, he does have a problem with the task force, its makeup, and our area being under-represented!
"The only representation that that board has, or that committee has west of Jacksonville is coach (Beau) Johnson from Blountstown." coach Johns told us. "So he represents not only every coach because he's the only coach on there, but he also represents every school from Jacksonville west. And I just don't feel like the committee was put together with the proper representation. You don't have a superintendent. You don't have advisory members. You don't even have the football director for the FHSAA in Frank Beasley. So to me it was just a lack of representation across the state set up for basically what I think is an agenda that is underlying this. Nobody knows exactly what that agenda is but it's not in the benefit of kids in my opinion."
The coach seems to be concerned that advisory board may sway the FHSAA into a “one size fits all” kind of mandate, giving preference to schools in Central and South Florida, which currently aren’t allowing kids to practice, and may be leaning towards postponing and/or canceling fall sports.
“Which obviously they have problems that we don’t have.” coach Johns said. “Which we understand that and we feel for that. I’ve said many times that we didn’t shut down the world when hurricane Michael wiped out everybody in the area here. People didn’t have homes. You know we are supposed to not do anything because South Florida can’t do anything? So we feel for them. We have sympathy for them and we certainly don’t hold anything against them. But it should not distract us from being able to do things that our kids are able to do. We’ve got 50 something kids in here this morning. They want to be here. They don’t want to be sitting at home!”
As for the state continuing to talk about changing the schedule around, well coach Johns points out it comes down to some simple logic.
“You know here’s the bottom line, it’s not going to be a normal season no matter what. OK and so what I’ve tried to do is push the thought process of let’s start, let’s deal with things as they come. Because even if we start on August 10th, unless there’s some study coming out that’s going to prove to us that starting on August 10th means that we’re not gonna have any more problems, and we are going to be able to play a season all the way through, then to me that is a random start date to move back to, to hope that things are better. When there’s no guarantee that it will be. And then you start creating a domino effect where if you move back to August 10th, then this changes and this changes and this changes, which may have to happen anyway.”
Coach Johns says another idea being floated by this task force is giving schools an option to start inside four different time frame windows, and which window you start in would dictate how your school was classified. As coach Johnson puts it, there are “a lot of moving parts” involved, and so much would still have to be worked out.
That task force is set to come back to the FHSAA on July 20th, and it is likely some decisions about how to move forward will be made at that meeting.
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