In what will be the most unique fall in recent memory, football fans won’t be packing the stands on Friday nights, college scouts won’t be evaluating prep stars and 2019 champions will have to wait months for a chance to repeat.
“I just hope it happens, I don’t care how weird it is or what it feels like. I know that is what our girls said, they’re like “We just want to play. We don’t care if we’re in a mask or in body suits”. I know the kids with us last year, you have a season like that and those kids want to come back.”
Volleyball Bumps Back to Spring
Brad Baker is the girl’s volleyball coach at Benet Academy, the defending 4A state champion. With girl’s volleyball moved to the spring, the high school season will now directly conflict with the club season… a big potential issue.
“It’s just going to come down to – can some adults make some good decisions for kids. And people that run the IHSA and run the Great Lakes Region / USA Volleyball, hopefully they can come together and come up with a good solution that allows them to somehow play both.”
While volleyball has been moved in what has become a four-season plan conceptualized by the IHSA, golf has remained in the fall, along with three other sports. Which was good news for coaches like Barry Baldwin, the Head Girl’s Golf Coach at Naperville Central.
Golf Swings Away in the Fall
“In the spring it was devastating when girls soccer, for us, got canceled. When it came to the fall we really didn’t know because cases have been going up and you didn’t quite know what the reaction was going to be.”
Baldwin also coaches girl’s soccer, which has shifted from the spring to the new summer season; a period stretching from May 3rd to June 26th.
“I’m not real happy that the season is short – it’s the shortest of all the seasons – when we didn’t have a season last year. I don’t think it needs to be. Hopefully they look at that again and there’s rumors that they are.”
And then there’s football. Spared being outright canceled, football will tentatively be scheduled to take place in the spring, giving college scouts little opportunity to evaluate players.
“There’s people that will probably get offers that have not been seen based on recommendations from coaches, which is different, obviously.”
Like many coaches, Neuqua Valley’s Bill Ellinghaus quickly went into motivation mode when learning the news.
“Within an hour of getting the news of – yeah, it’s not going to happen in the fall – I immediately turned to, what do we have to do to make this the best possible experience for these kids.”
While the fallout from these decisions will become more evident as time goes on, some are more apparent than others. And the implications down the road will be as unique as the academic school year that lies ahead.
Reporting for Naperville News 17, I’m Kevin Jackman