High school trustees offer direction on indoor sports

As restrictions around sports ease up, Lassen High School administration sought input on what to do with recently approved indoor sports.

During a special board of trustees meeting Monday, LHS administration described some of the challenges encountered trying to put the year’s worth of athletics in a span of a few months.

Ultimately, following some input from coaches, parents and an athlete who were present at the meeting, the Lassen Union High School Board of Trustees directed staff to take a look at a scrimmage or intersquad situation for basketball and wrestling, and lessen the impact on spring sports, which lost their season last March.

“I promise you, we’ll find something for all of our kids. Even if we choose not to have a season, we’ll still end up having a intersquad game, or have a situation to see if we can find somebody outside of our league. Our kids deserve it, and let’s be honest, you as parents, you deserve it, too,” Superintendent/ Principal Morgan Nugent said.

Currently, LHS has scheduled the majority of its sports in the span of a few months, which is creating some difficulty where all the teams might not have enough players, LHS Assistant Principal Joshua Blackburn shared during the meeting. While the month of May was originally intended for the spring sports, including track and field, baseball and softball — which didn’t get seasons last year due to the pandemic  — now adding the approved indoor sports like basketball and wrestling would take away some athletes from other sports, potentially eliminating junior varsity teams. Indoor sports also come with increased COVID-19 testing requirements.

Since indoor sports were recently approved with certain requirements, the high school could take a look at bringing back volleyball, basketball and wrestling for league play. Volleyball is the Title 9 balance for football, Blackburn explained, and since the team held tryouts prior to everything being shut down again last fall, they were ready to get started. With basketball and wrestling, though, the addition of a season has the possibility of taking athletes away from other sports, like junior varsity baseball, and also could pose risks to students if they desired to play multiple sports, leaving little time for conditioning,  learning the proper plays or even classwork, he said.

“There is a ripple effect,” Blackburn said, adding he wanted to be able to let all sports play.

Nugent added they didn’t want to limit opportunities for students, but suggested they might be limiting students if they offer too much.

“Finding that balance, to me, is key,” he said.

During the meeting, some in attendance voiced concerns and support regarding the introduction of indoor sports to the final months of the school year.

Baseball coach Scott Foreman noted he would be in favor of basketball starting up, but said there was already difficulty retaining enough players on the roster with the overlap of football and baseball. He feared allowing basketball and wrestling would take away too many players, risking the viability of the junior varsity team.

One meeting attendee asked what would the students who only play basketball get, noting they could lose out on their final year to play the sport.

Additionally, a student athlete who plays basketball shared she would be in favor of at least some scrimmages or senior night with a few weeks of practice.

Ultimately, the board of trustees directed staff to take a look at scrimmages or intersquad play for the indoor sports, and lessen the impact on spring sports.