EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - Thanks to guidance from Gov. Eric Holcomb, the state’s department of education and the Indiana High School Athletic Association, the Evansville Vanderburgh School Corporation has released guidelines for the return of high school sports in Evansville.
“We feel like the guidelines set forth are guidelines that are fair, and guidelines that we feel are important to follow," EVSC Athletic Director Andy Owen said.
It’s all part of a three-phase plan with the first one beginning on July 6. From that date until July 19, players are to have no contact with others, coaches and staff are recommended to wear face coverings, locker rooms cannot be used and social distancing is recommended.
“Phase one will be without contact - it will be more skill development, but not any touching or guarding,” Owen said. “As we move into phase two, contact is allowed.”
Along with IHSAA-allowed contact, phase two also consists of locker room capacity capped at 50%, spotters able to be present during free weight workouts and no competition - with the exception of girls golf.
“Phase three, when week one of football has rolled around, and volleyball and most teams are starting to play, the guidelines have laid off and we will compete,” Owen said. “I think the world needs that. Our community needs that.”
The start of phase three is slated to begin on August 15, but this date is subject to change.
“We’re going to continue to learn, trust reliable sources on telling us what’s best and if we have to pause on any of this, we will because we’re going to do what’s best for our children,” Owen said.
Also included in phase three - spectators are allowed to be present while following social distancing guidelines.
“That’s the thing about sports - having our community, your fans, having that atmosphere, that’s a big part of what we’re trying to create here,” Joey Paridaen, head football coach at North High School said.
Until August 15 rolls around the corner, athletes, coaches and parents look toward the first Monday in July.
“The first practice, I just want to love on the kids and tell them how happy I am to see them,” Sean Coultis, head football coach at Central High School said. “It’s going to be different but we’re going to make the best of it.”
“It’s kind of like being away from your family for a long time,” Paridaen said. “Being able to see those kids again, be able to get back at it on the football field with them - it can’t get here soon enough.”
Prior to phase one’s start date on July 6, student-athletes that plan on playing a fall sport must either have a 2019-2020 IHSAA physical completed or have one done.
An IHSAA health history form must also be completed and turned into the athletes’ head coach on July 6.
Click here to find the required documents.