The fall football season for Saskatchewan’s high school football players will be a mere shadow of what it has been.
The Saskatchewan High Schools Athletic Association (SHSAA) in releasing its ‘Return to School Sport’ document is radically altering the football, and other fall sport seasons for its member schools.
The document outlines protocols, guidelines, and recommendations assisting schools to safely and effectively introduce sport as part of the school opening process.
One of the changes will see no interschool games until Oct. 5 for soccer, Oct. 13 for football and Oct. 19 for volleyball citing “many students will not be returning to school (sport) in the same state (physically and mentally) that is typical at the start of a school year. Many have not been active for six-months and will require time to train (both physically and mentally)prior to competition,” adding “one of the guidelines to return to sport is to reduce the chance of injury during COVID-19; training prior to competition will assist in the reduction of injury.”
The document also outlines the maximum number of people that can participate at any one time.
It notes the current Public Heath Orderslimits public gatherings to 30 people; therefore, the number of players, coaches, officials, and volunteers needs to remain at 30 or less peopleduring an event.
As a result football is being limited to six aside and soccer limited to seven aside.
The Return to School Sport information cites the current Public Heath Orderslimits public gatherings to 30 people; therefore, the number of players, coaches, officials, and volunteers needs to remain at 30 or less people.
In order to reduce the number of contacts a student might have outside the curricular school day;the SHSAA Executive passed a motion that adjusted the opportunities for student participation during the fall seasons of play: A student will be allowed to participate in one fall activity during concurrent seasons of play.
In addition, no Provincial Championships are beingheld in golf, cross-country, soccer, football, and volleyball.
The extensive changes do not impress Yorkton Regional High School football coach Jason Boyda who has already begun a petition to change things.
The petition seeks for the SHSAA to create an opportunity for high school football players with an opportunity to play a regular season and compete for a Provincial Championship during the spring of 2021.
Boyda said he sees a spring season beginning right before Hoopla, the provincial basketball championship.
“Usually we start in the sun and finish in the snow, why can’t we start in the snow and finish in the sun?” he asked.
Certainly a spring option would at least give football players a real season as opposed to the modified six-player proposal that Boyda said he sees as more of an intermural concept than a competitive sport option.
“It (six-aside), doesn’t give our players a meaningful season that they deserve and they have earned,” he said.
Boyda said locally the high school football program has been very successful in helping its players advance to further education opportunities by playing university of junior football, but those opportunities don’t come easily.
“Being in rural Saskatchewan we don’t have all the (scout) eyes on us that we’d like,” he said, adding that means a higher reliance on submitting game film to show a player’s ability.
“You can’t assess how a quarterback player by comparing six-aside to 12-aside,” he said.
Boyda said the altered fall season approach of the SHSAA is particularly hard on Grade 12 students, who have one last year to make an impression to move on. There are 18 on the YRHS expected roster.
“My son is going to be in Grade 12. We’ve been part of this program, this journey, since he was eight-years-old,” he said, adding the camaraderie and competition of football “is something special he’s going to miss out on.”