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10/12/20- Postseason Soccer, Volleyball, Field Hockey Situations and Questions

October 13, 2020 AAA-Covid-19

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As we head into the postseason, we know our managers and member schools are working extremely hard to protect opportunities for students during this strange time while at the same time, juggling near-daily changing data to help make current decisions. We have had several questions that have emerged about teams advancing in light of specific quarantine and isolation issues.

Remember that the guidance we are operating under from the Department for Health specifies that a quarantine period (exposure to a person who tests positive) is for fourteen (14) days and an isolation period (for a person with a positive test) is for at least ten (10) days following the test. It has long been anticipated that an ill-timed quarantine or isolation period might end a season if schools cannot find additional scheduling options. 

As an association, we will make all reasonable efforts to accommodate the competing school with rescheduling any contest provided that such rescheduled dates do not adversely affect the next round of the tournament. This will require constant contact between the various districts and likely consideration of difficult alternatives.

Currently, the staff at the Association continues to do outstanding work as we begin to navigate the postseason during this pandemic. In particular, site selection has been impacted and in some ways, there are already very obvious signs of “gaming” by folks trying to gain a competitive advantage due to particular spikes in certain areas.

Most of the concerns and situations revolve around KDPH’s designation of “red counties”, which as you all are aware, is not binding on athletic competition but merely a recommendation to the member schools. In the vast majority of cases, the schools have worked cooperatively but in more than one situation, it is somewhat obvious that competitive advantages have been in the back of people’s minds in discussions. It is certainly no longer solely about “we are just glad we get to play.” With trophies at stake, some opinions have changed.

  • The Commissioner desires to share with you the interpretations that have been issued. In all of these examples, an impacted school can always withdraw themselves from postseason play regardless of reason without any future penalty.
  • Event being held in a red county – If all agree to continue, just like in regular season, Play on. That is local discretion.
  • Event being held in a red county, one or more won’t come TO the red county. Options are:
    • 1) Event relocates with the same host or
    • 2) Event relocates with a new host.
    • All are reminded that the red county status can change on a daily basis when the data is released around 5 p.m. If an event is relocated, staff will work with schools in the region as to future rotations and if this year changes those plans.
  • Event is not hosted in a red county but involves schools FROM a red county. Just like in red-season, if schools concur, play on.
  • Event is not hosted in a red county but involves schools FROM a red county and the host won’t allow them to come into the non-red county.
    • We will not permit the host to make this unilateral decision without some form of mutual agreement and we will decide it for the groups if necessary, making a decision they can agree to implement, or they can decline to participate.
    • Frankly, this type of decision appears to indict everyone on the team when Quarantines and Isolation procedures, when properly implemented, prevent the players themselves from being an issue.
    • This is where some of the “competitive” issues appear to be arising, as the simple change in status is being used by some individuals to restrict better teams from postseason play.
    • Be mindful of the fact that on Monday afternoon, 25 of our counties were in that red county status (or nearly 1/4 of the state).
    • Our stance continues to be to help facilitate negotiation with a variety of options in this case-
      • Negotiate remains the operative recommendation. Simply put, a non-red county cannot summarily preclude the red county and eliminate them.
      • Capacity for both/either teams could be reduced or possibly eliminated to help mitigate public attendance and allow student participation.
      • Games could be played at multiple sites or neutral sites where a host can be found. I go back to last year when a postseason round for a 14th region school was actually played in Lexington and can still recall a baseball semistate from E Ky being finished in Lexington. Solutions are available.
      • The host can withdraw on the basis of public health from the tournament
  • The key thing we have emphasized to people is to make the same decisions you would make on the Monday night before the state football finals or the Sweet Sixteen. When put in that perspective, they will find an answer.
  • Host desires to withdraw (red county or not)
    • No penalty
    • Must re-seed district tournament if the district is seeded and higher seed withdraws

– KHSAA –

About the Kentucky High School Athletic Association
The Kentucky High School Athletic Association was organized in 1917 and is the agency designated by the Kentucky Department of Education to manage high school athletics in the Commonwealth. The Association is a voluntary nonprofit 501(c)3 organization made up of 284 member schools both public and non-public. The KHSAA awards 215 state championships to 51 teams and 164 individuals in 13 sports and 6 sport-activities, funds catastrophic insurance coverage for its more than 106,000 rostered member school student-athletes, provides coaching education and sports safety programs for more than 12,000 coaches, and licenses and facilitates the distribution of training material for over 4,000 contest officials.

 

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