FNF Coaches Talk — Colorado pushes football to spring, Texas needs football, NJ referee shortage

FNF Coaches Talk

Good afternoon, Coaches. Here’s today’s roundup of stories.

1. Colorado High School Athletic Association votes down effort to play high school football this fall despite governor’s OK (Coloradoan)

After receiving the go-ahead from Colorado Gov. Jared Polis to allow fall football, the Colorado High School Activities Association’s Board of Directors voted unanimously to stick to its plan for a spring season.

Polis had said Tuesday he would work with CHSAA and school districts that wanted to play football this fall on plans to allow it to happen. Public health orders designed to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus, which causes COVID-19, had previously banned full-contact football in the state.

CHSAA shot down the option to play fall football Tuesday night with its 16 board members from across the state declining to change the calendar they adopted Aug. 4 for the 2020-21 school year.

That calendar moved three traditional fall sports — football, boys soccer and volleyball — to the spring with practices starting Feb. 22 in football and March 1 in boys soccer and volleyball and postseason play in all three starting April 20-24. Other fall sports in Colorado high schools — cross country, boys golf, softball and boys tennis — are being played as originally scheduled this year, with some additional health protocols in place to help limit the spread of COVID-19.

Read the entire story about the CHSAA’s decision in Colorado.

Do you think it’s appropriate for a politician to state his or her opinion on whether high school sports should return?

2. Texas needs Friday night lights this year more than ever (Dallas News)

We’ve all seen the columns written by football coaches, former players and fans — pleading for state association governing bodies and/or politicians to bring back the sport this fall. Those columns have their merits, but we particularly like columns that get to specifics rather than use general arguments like, “Football brings us together.”

This one addresses how the lack of football affects the mental health of athletes.

Also, allowing students to participate in sports after a spring of canceled games has become a priority. Students whose spring seasons were canceled reported feeling isolated and some questioned the importance of attending school.

The feeling of isolation is all the more compounded by an environment in which many student-athletes are also participating in remote learning.

Remote learning brings considerable challenges and requires students to engage with schools in unique ways. High school athletics provide an opportunity for students to engage with their teammates and coaches face-to-face, even if their schools are still offering virtual instruction. Add in a global pandemic and a national conversation about racial injustices, and students are going to need their community’s support before, during and after competition. This includes resources to access online platforms for learning, and it includes recognizing athletes’ value to the community every time they step onto the court or field.

Read the entire column pleading for the return of HS sports here.

What is the biggest reason you think football should be played this fall?

3. N.J. has a referee shortage and it will have an impact on 2020 (NJ.com)

We did an entire edition on the prospect of a referee shortage, and that was before COVID-19 crept into our lives.

With some officials opting out due to COVID-19 concerns — as many as 18 in one South Jersey chapter of the New Jersey Football Officials Association — New Jersey is facing a statewide shortage of officiating crews a little more than three weeks from the scheduled start of the season on Oct. 2.

In some instances, full crews have asked to be removed from the schedule.

The shortage is severe enough that some conferences have been asked to rescheduled games from Friday nights to either Thursday night or Saturday.

To make matters worse for the NJFOA, the statewide cadet class has only eight members, down from the usual 25-30.

“Some areas of the state are worse off than others,” said Carmine Picardo, a Super Football Conference, North Jersey Interscholastic Conference, state tournament and replay officials assignor and a member of the NJSIAA Football Committee. “We did a survey a couple of weeks ago and with 90 percent of the officials responding, 11.5 percent of our membership opted out. That includes clock operators, on-field officials, full-time and part-time officials.
“The Central and North chapters were hit hard and the other chapters lost people, too,” Picardo said. “Off the top of my head, I’d say we’re down 10-12 crews statewide. In some cases, we are trying to piece crews together.”

Read the entire story about New Jersey’s referee shortage.

What can coaches do to stave off this trend of a decline in referees at the high school level?

What’s driving the conversation in your locker room? Email Managing Editor Dan Guttenplan or Tweet us @fnfcoaches. Don’t forget to use that hashtag #FNFCoachesTalk