Athletic directors react to St. Louis County ruling on fall sports

Missouri

CLAYTON, Mo. – The effect of St. Louis County’s sports guidelines is hitting schools hard.

Parkway Central Athletic Director Mike Roth was watching County Executive Sam Page’s news conference Wednesday morning when he heard the news that student-athletes won’t be able to participate in fall sports.

Roth called it a mixed message and said he and other athletic directors in the county are frustrated.

“There’s 10 sports in all; 5 allowed to participate. That’s a positive. Obviously, with football and soccer and some other ones not able to compete. But we’ll still continue to practice,” he said.

Page recommended moving fall sports to the spring. The county’s hope is that the situation with COVID-19 could change by then and medium-risk sports like soccer, volleyball, cheerleading, and field hockey might able to play games at some point. However, in speaking with multiple athletic directors Wednesday, it’s clear football will have to play in spring because of current ongoing guidelines.

“It’s very frustrating for our families and coaches and administrators in Parkway that some local schools in St. Charles County or Jefferson County are playing high school sports,” he said. “It’s a tough pill to swallow.”

Roth made it clear that Parkway and other county athletic directors he has spoken with will abide by the sports guidelines put forth by the county executive, whether they agree or understand them. However, they won’t stop coaching kids.

“We want to keep kids connected to school and to coaches,” Roth said. “We feel that is a positive.”

Roth said time is of the essence in getting kids back on the fields for games. But he also said this out of the hands of schools; it’s all up to Page and the county.

“It’s tough because you plan for months; all the sports. You have summer workouts, practices. It’s unknown,” he said. “This is so disheartening to parents, coaches, but especially our student-athletes.”

The alternative spring season would start practices on February 22, with games beginning March 11.

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