Military post schools in Ky. cancel football, soccer, volleyball

Fort Campbell and Fort Knox high schools have become the first Kentucky prep programs to cancel their fall athletic seasons in football, soccer and volleyball amid the coronavirus pandemic.

YourSportsEdge.com, a media outlet that covers a number of high school programs in western Kentucky, first reported the development citing a Department of Defense Education Activity statement Tuesday and confirmed the shutdown with Fort Campbell’s first-year football head coach Jeff Rodgers.

The same statement was posted Tuesday on the Facebook pages of both Fort Campbell and Fort Knox.

“Installations in Health Protection Condition (HPCON) level Bravo will not participate in any Group III High or Group II Moderate Infection Risk athletics and activities, practices or drills as identified/defined in the DoDEA Reopening Athletics/Extracurriculars Manual guidelines,” the statement said.

Soccer and volleyball fall under the DoDEA’s moderate risk activities. Football is considered high risk. “Condition Bravo” is the middle of five “health protection condition levels” the DoDEA uses. One step higher and no athletics are allowed.

Under its current conditions, the Army post high schools are allowed to compete in cross country and golf.

“We received word that after review they would not participate in certain sports after a review of the options compared with existing military and federal guidance,” Kentucky High School Athletic Association Commissioner Julian Tackett said in a statement. “Just like every other school, participation is voluntary and other questions should go to the schools.”

Fort Knox competes in small-school Class A and Fort Campbell competes in Class 2A in the KHSAA system. Among Fort Knox’s opponents was Sayre, who is set to begin its first full varsity season in football.

The two post schools were set to play each other on Sept. 18. Fort Campbell appeared on the schedule of both Mayfield and Murray, two top programs expected to make playoff runs.

“I just found out about 10 minutes ago,” said Mayfield Coach Joe Morris, who has led his team to multiple state titles and was runner-up last year. “They’re in our district, and I guess we’ll be looking for another game in that spot. …

“I’m just worried about our kids and hope we get an opportunity to play if everything is safe. It’s a tough situation around here, right now.”

While dozens of high school associations, colleges and conferences across the country have already begun making decisions to cancel or postpone their fall seasons, KHSAA officials have consistently maintained it intends to play its fall sports somehow.

A special meeting of the KHSAA Board of Control is scheduled Aug. 20 to discuss whether it can move forward with its plan to begin opening regular practices on Aug. 24 and its sports seasons beginning Sept. 7 for most and Sept. 11 for football. Golf is the only sport currently allowed under KHSAA guidelines. The first three weeks of football have already been canceled.

The continuing rise in COVID-19 cases in Kentucky and across the country in recent weeks have complicated those plans. On Monday, Gov. Andy Beshear recommended that no K-12 schools begin in-class instruction until at least Sept. 28 because of the coronavirus’ continuing threat.

School teams are currently allowed to hold conditioning and skills training on campus, but full-fledged practices remain forbidden under COVID-19 guidelines. A number of teams have experienced COVID cases since volntary workouts began June 15. Those positive-case teams shut down for a period of about two weeks before restarting. This week Johnson Central and Paintsville announced temporary shutdowns in their football programs.

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