FRANKFORT, Ky. — The Kentucky Board of Education has voted to send a letter to the Kentucky High School Athletic Association Board of Control asking for consideration of additional options for sports.
The letter will ask KHSAA to include more guidance for sports and look at how other states are facilitating fall sports.
The decision came after a nearly four-hour meeting where the board heard from KHSAA Commissioner Julian Tackett, superintendents, and Kentucky Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Steven Stack.
Dr. Stack spoke to the board about the health concerns associated with allowing fall sports, including a new condition called Myocarditis, that has emerged in some athletes that recovered from coronavirus. Myocarditis is an inflammation of the heart muscle and it can affect the heart muscle.
“I’m not here to tell you people will die so don’t play sport but I am here to say I don’t know if people will die,” he said. “How comfortable are we all allowing sports to happen not knowing if this is going to be as big a problem as it theoretically could be.”
While there are superintendents on KHSAA’s Board of Controls, the decision to resume fall sports on the original schedule was not unanimous among all superintendents in Kentucky.
Alvin Garrison, superintendent of Covington Independent Schools, says allowing sports before in-person classes is wrong.
“I think it sends the wrong message to our student-athletes that sports are more important than school,” he said.
Many of the members expressed concerns about how high school sports can prevent the spread of the virus while professional sports could not, ultimately Tackett said a lot of it will depend on the athletes and their families.
“We can do very well controlling compliance at the games and practice, it’s the remaining 22 to 23 hours or 21 to 23 hours, are we gonna get that support at home?” he said. “That’s where the pros have broken down, a strip club in Miami, a social outing out west or the midwest in Denver and Utah, the bubbles were good until people could outside of them."
Several surrounding states have started fall sports.
Practices began in Kentucky August 24 while contests can begin September 7.