‘Next few weeks will be telling’ with high school contact sports allowed to resume workouts July 1 – Omaha World-Herald

LINCOLN — With high schools able to resume summertime workouts for contact sports on Wednesday, the Nebraska School Activities Association will be watching what happens.

Especially for football.

“The next few weeks will be telling,” NSAA assistant director Nate Neuhaus said Monday during the NSAA’s board meeting.

Board member Kathi Wieskamp of the Lincoln Public Schools said her district will wait until July 6 to resume activity in football, basketball, soccer and wrestling.

What the Omaha Public Schools will allow is unknown. The state’s largest school district has yet to open weight rooms, which the NSAA has allowed since June 1. OPS has been restricting its schools to outdoor conditioning only.

On Monday, OPS began allowing schools to open gyms to groups of 25 or less. OPS spokesman Jeremy Maskel said Bryan, Burke, Central, North and South did so, with Benson and Northwest beginning either later this week or next.

“Just as with our outdoor conditioning opportunities, health and safety are at the forefront,” Maskel said in an email. “Health screening questions, socially distant activities and regular disinfecting remain part of our layered approach to offer opportunities in a responsible way.”

NSAA executive director Jay Bellar said the board may have to add a meeting before the next scheduled one in August to address reopening of NSAA activities. Spring sports were canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Bellar clarified that a fall season would start if schools are back in session to some degree. And it doesn’t have to be an all-or-none situation for the seven fall sports — football, volleyball, softball, girls and boys cross country, girls golf and boys tennis.

“Hopefully we’re going to be able to play the full season,” he said. “It’s not going to be predicated if we can’t do football we won’t do cross country because I don’t know that’s what we want to do. If we can get cross country and those in and we can’t the others, we’ll do that.

“The one thing that we did make a decision on is for whatever reason if we can’t be in session there’s probably not going to be a season at that point in time.”

How about fan attendance?

“I don’t know for sure what the stands will look like,” Bellar said. “I’m hoping we can bring people back as long as they’re paying attention to social distancing.”

He said face-covering requirements would likely be a local decision of schools and their areas’ health departments.

The NSAA’s newest sport, bowling, may not know until September whether it will have a state championship in 2021-21. No board action was taken Monday. Bowling was approved in May to begin this coming school year as a winter-season sport.

Dan Masters, the NSAA assistant director overseeing bowling, said 31 schools are registered for bowling. Many will have both boys and girls teams. Another 39 schools are showing interest. Teams will be under the NSAA umbrella for the regular season.

Not among them are the six in LPS. Wieskamp said budget uncertainty is among the reasons for not launching teams right away.



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