Area coaches excited, relieved over NSAA decision on fall sports

Published: Jul. 20, 2020 at 11:07 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - Many area football coaches are in favor of the NSAA’s decision to proceed with its fall sports season in 2020. Some say its a relief, while others are excited for their players to get back on the field. York head coach Glen Snodgrass believes the NSAA can be a trailblazer during the pandemic.

“We might be setting a standard for a lot of other states,” Snodgrass said. “We saw what California and New Mexico and it made us a little worried. There’s probably about 45 other states that say ‘Hey, Nebraska is playing. Maybe its something we can do.‘”

The high school fall sports seasons in California and New Mexico have been re-scheduled for the spring.

Lincoln Christian head coach Kurt Earl was informed of the NSAA’s decision while leading a football camp. He says he was overjoyed to learn his team is allowed to play this fall.

“To hear the news that we’re committed to going forward almost brought me to tears,” Earl said. “I realize how much I want our seniors to get that opportunity. If we have to close things down, we’ll close things down. But its good to be trying."

Earl also serves as the athletic director at Lincoln Christian. He, along with Snodgrass, know scheduling may be wild in 2020. Both expressed concerns over how schools will proceed if a positive COVID-19 case is detected within a school or on a team. Snodgrass believes widespread testing is unrealistic for all high school football players due to finances.

“The biggest question right now is they haven’t released any information on what the policies might be,” Waverly head coach Reed Manstedt said. ”You bring all the water bottles out to a huddle during a timeout and every kid grabs a water bottle and takes a drink. I gotta believe you can’t do that now.”

Coaches believe many players have already been exposed to COVID-19 guidelines during summer weight lifting sessions. Players must wear masks, maintain social distancing, and frequently sanitize equipment.

“With the athletics we’ve been doing over the summer, you have a large chunk of your (student) population that have been practicing these things,” Lincoln North Star head coach Tony Kobza said. “You’re going to have a group of kids that can lead the way through the building and how to show their peers what the expectations are whether in the classroom or on the field.”

The NSAA fall sports calendar is scheduled to begin August 10th with the first day of practice. Opening night of the NSAA football season is August 27th.

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