Following spring sports’ seasons being cut short, the LHSAA has decided that no extra year of eligibility will be given to seniors whose seasons were affected by COVID-19. Thousands of Louisiana high school athletes and coaches are waiting in limbo to see what fall sports will look like.
"The kids need it,” Oak Grove football head coach Ryan Gregory said. “We're, you know, our community's a little different, you know. We don't have a whole lot of other things going on, you know, so if we don’t have football going on, if we don't have sports going on, a lot of those kids-there's not really a whole lot to do."
LHSAA summer rules typically have a start date of May 17, but as the state moves towards phasing in the new normal the use of school facilities might come down to the decisions of local officials. This could mean inconsistencies between public and private schools and regional divides.
Both Oak Grove and OCS are defending state titles and looking to keep that momentum moving forward.
"When the state does open up with phase one, and assuming that's that 25 percent occupancy, then, then we plan to open our campus for our workouts,” OCS football head coach Steven Fitzhugh said. “During this first phase we're gonna limit it to 15 kids in the weight room.
"I think those schools for the most part…won't be too far ahead. I mean, just because they still gotta take in the safety of their kids,” Gregory said.
Despite challenges, both Gregory and Fitzhugh have found ways to connect with athletes in the meantime.
"We have been doing group chats, we have been doing some group texts sending out workouts for them to do and I've been calling them just keeping in touch,” Gregory said.
"We've actually been able to do some Zoom meetings and set up things on Hudl where kids can look at and listen to some training sessions, look at film, look at playbooks and things like that,” Fitzhugh said. “The ones that make the most of that opportunity you're gonna be able to tell when we do come back how those are the ones that studied their playbooks."
Regardless of what summer workouts look like, the lack of spring football means all schools will be given an early start for fall practice. Some schools are used to this format.
"We have so many kids playing baseball and running track that we usually get that anyway so I definitely think I mean...I'll take anything we can get as far as starting back early and everything whenever they deem it's safe and everything but as far as us, like, we usually have that week anyway,” Gregory said.
OCS quarterback and two-sport athlete Hunter Herring truly gets the time as a bonus.
"I've never really experienced spring football because of baseball so I'm just getting an extra week of practice. I think it will be good for us, honestly,” Herring said.