High school athletes and coaches are going to have to wait a little longer before practices can begin.

The LHSAA executive committee voted unanimously to postpone the first day of permissive LHSAA summer rules until June 8 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a memo on the association’s website.

The announcement prohibits summer practice in any sport by and LHSAA school-based team until that time. Summer rules were initially scheduled to go into effect on May 17.

With the start of summer practices pushed back to at least June 8, the Port Allen and Brusly high football squads will continue preparing for the 2020 season the same way they were before last week’s decision.

“We’ve been staying in constant contact with our guys and trying to find some workouts and things that they can do from home,” said Port Allen head football coach Don Gibson. “We have a really good group of older guys who know what to do.”

Gibson said the most important thing right now is the safety of everyone. He said at this point of the offseason, strength and fitness are key.

From an Xs and Os standpoint, the coach said his team is in good shape considering the team is returning most of its starters from last year.

“We’re not doing any zoom meetings or anything, but we’re talking to our guys and they’re kind of being our eyes and ears for everyone else on the team. Our hope is to play this season and we have a plan in place if and when that time comes.”

Virtual communication has been a key for the Brusly football team during the pandemic.

“We’ve been staying in touch through Zoom,” said Brusly head coach Hoff Schooler. “We still want to be present and check on the guys. “We’ve been sending them different workouts because everybody’s situation at home is different. We’re mostly checking on their well-being and keeping them posted until we can get together.”

There has been pushback on the LHSAA’s decision to postpone practices, but Schooler said his biggest concern has been conditioning, not anything else from a football standpoint.

“This is high school football. We’ll have plenty of times to install plays,” he said. “When you get down to it, we missed 10 practices. There are a lot of good football teams who participate in spring football. Everyone will get that week back in the fall.”

June 1 was discussed as a possible start-up date, but June 8, lines up with Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards' roll-out of Phase II reopening. The memo states that one key difference is that Phase I allows for groups of no more than 10 people for activities, while Phase II will allow 25. 

Phase II allows sports that involve limited contact including baseball, cheerleading, gymnastics, volleyball and softball. Phase I allows for individual sports and/non-contact sports.

The LHSAA postponed its sports seasons on March 16, in conjunction with Louisiana's stay-at-home order. The LHSAA canceled its remaining spring sports and championship events on April 9. 

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