Welcome back, Coach. We’ve got three stories for you.
1. How the pandemic may turn 2020 high school football to a more digital season (Independent Mail)
High school football is scheduled to start in South Carolina on Friday night with 25 percent capacity in stadiums.
The South Carolina High School League (SCHSL) guidelines are encouraging schools to focus on looking to technology as a way to bring the game to their communities. One of those ways is using online pregame ticket sales to avoid large walk-ups for games.
While online ticket sales can help mitigate large and unexpected crowds, a fully online ticket process can present several challenges.
T.L. Hanna High School has sold tickets online for the past four years and plans to share its link with visiting teams. The school will have reserve seating for those purchasing tickets through the booster club with the rest coming from the weekly link.
“You’re looking at making an announcement like ‘This week’s game is on sale now, buy tickets,’ ” Cann said. “Even if you walk up to us with a South Carolina High Carolina High School League pass, if we’re at 1,250 (T.L. Hanna’s stadium capacity in 2020) then you’ll be turned away. It’s going to be a totally different experience for everybody.”
Southside athletic director Thomas Fredrickson said his school also is considering a livestream. That’s not a certainty, but he said he has to consider all options possible for as many fans as possible to watch games.
“People are hungry for some kind of sporting event,” he said. “We all got halted and stopped abruptly in March, and the athletes, families and community weren’t able to finish out their seasons there and we’re just ready to get them back to our gyms and stadiums.”
What are you doing to keep your fans engaged with the team this season?
2. Coaches in Spring Football States Trying to Fill Recruiting Void (MassLive)
National Signing Day will fall on February 3 — 19 days before the start of the high school football season in Massachusetts.
By February, high school football players in Massachusetts will not have played the game in over 14 months and will not have any new game film to add to their highlight tapes that get sent to college coaches.
With no new game film to send, the recruiting process has been stripped down to its core of building relationships.
“We are just trying to talk to as many people as possible,” Central coach Valdamar Brower saud. “If a coach wants an accurate height, get it to them. Whatever it takes. Whatever coaches ask for, we will provide it for them. … Communicate with family and with athletes for what coaches are looking for. … We are being relentless with relationships and communicating.”
Coaches and players from across Western Massachusetts have differing strategies when it comes to connecting with college coaches, but for most, everything starts with social media, especially Twitter.
Since there are no high school games for college coaches to watch or schools for staffs to visit, players are posting highlight videos to get the attention of coaches on Twitter more than they did before the pandemic started.
In part because of the outbreak, high school prospects have a bio section on Twitter that reads like a resume with information like SAT scores, current GPA and other accolades along with a homepage full of highlight and workout videos.
What can Spring football coaches to help their players get recruited?
3. Aging Coaches Are Leaving the Profession Due to the Pandemic (New York Times)
Just about any survey of coaches, parents and athletes will show that the majority are in favor of playing football this fall because the health risks to high school aged athletes is marginal.
While young athletes are considered less vulnerable to Covid-19, aging coaches are at higher risk of infection and having a severe response. At least 30 high school and club team coaches have died of coronavirus-related causes. Though some were in their 70s, one was 27, another 30.
Countless other coaches have been forced to reconsider whether it is worth risking their health to continue their careers.
Eunice High coach Paul Trosclair won a Louisiana high school football championship in December 2018. For five seasons, Trosclair had endured fatigue and other effects of multiple myeloma, a treatable but incurable blood cancer, missing only a single game. He coached from a golf cart when the burning sensation in his feet made it too painful to stand. And when he was sidelined that one Friday night after a blood clot required surgery, he phoned his players from his hospital bed to wish them luck.
He decided to retire before this season.
“I couldn’t pull the trigger,” Trosclair, 64, said in a telephone interview. “It’s hard to walk away.”
It remains unclear how many coaches have retired for reasons related to Covid-19. The N.C.A.A., the National Federation of State High School Associations, state athletic associations and coaching organizations said they have not kept such figures.
Even so, the retired coaches may represent a fraction of coaches, though their departures often are deeply felt in their communities.
“There are hundreds of thousands of high school coaches across the country in various sports, so even if there are hundreds who have retired, it is a pretty small number,” Bruce Howard, a spokesman for the national high school federation, said in an email.
Have you noticed this trend in your home state? Or is this a case of one or two coaches retiring?