Friday night football in Indiana has grown in popularity over the past two decades, but it’s likely going to look a bit different this season. COVID-19 forced the cancellation of spring sports for more than 160,000 Indiana high school student-athletes. The state has issued an elaborate, phased approach on how to safely get athletes back in the game.
Incoming Indiana High School Athletic Association Commissioner Paul Neidig says he is confident about the return of sports, but adds it will be important to be nimble.
Neidig, who will succeed the retiring Bobby Cox in August, talked about the effort on Inside INdiana Business with Gerry Dick.
“We’ve been able to work collaboratively with the Department of Education and obviously the governor’s office and entities charged with opening back up our state,” said Neidig. “But the plan is we return to our school-based facilities on July 6th. Our coaches can get access to our student-athletes; we’ll call it knocking the dust off here.”
Neidig says there will be a two-week “acclimation period” called Phase 1, where coaches can work with the athletes through conditioning. The second phase will be more of a return to normal with some informal competitions with essential personnel only.
“That takes us to Phase 3 and Phase 3 is going to be the return of high school sports as we’ve known it on the same timeline as we’ve always had. And our hope is if we continue on this path and something doesn’t change that we’re going to return to the football field on Friday night this fall just like we have every other year…and we’re going to start competing again we’re going to start giving our kids a platform to learn and show what they do.”
Neidig says he is very confident that the state can stick to the timeline of the plan.