Sports

Is the H-DNL in danger of overloading the spring schedule?

Ray Hamill/HumboldtSports.com – The H-DNL track season is now tentatively planned to begin in mid-April.

By Ray Hamill — Coaches and athletic directors around the H-DNL have been working overtime these past few weeks trying to come up with the best schedule possible for all sports, as well as planning for all the logistics involved as we begin competing again in the midst of a pandemic.

After being cleared by the state just last week, football and soccer teams around the league will begin practice on Monday, with a proposed schedule for each set to begin later in March and run for five weeks.

Because of that, the league is pushing back the start of track and field, baseball, softball and boys golf until later in the spring.

And it’s looking like it will be a very busy spring, which could be problematic for the smaller schools in the area.

Options are limited right now with indoor sports such as volleyball, basketball and wrestling all still prohibited, but presuming those sports will be cleared to resume later in the spring, the way the league calendar is shaping up it’s going to be a crazy busy spring.

Right now, it appears as if there will be five boys sports (baseball, basketball, wrestling, golf and track and field) being played simultaneously from late April through early June, as well as five girls sports (softball, basketball, wrestling, volleyball and track and field).

This compares to just two sports each being proposed for March and early April — football and soccer for boys, and tennis and soccer for girls.

Complicating matters is the fact that student athletes are currently prohibited from playing more than one sport at the same time (although that could change down the road), meaning many of them will have some big choices to make in the spring, and some smaller schools in the area will have great difficulty even fielding teams in certain sports.

All of which begs the question, should the league be planning to play more sports in March and early April — most notably track and field and boys golf — in order to alleviate a potential later logjam?

To their credit, the H-DNL powers have worked hard on getting the calendar up and running, and discussions have been positive with an emphasis on trying to get all sports played and giving student athletes a chance to compete, which remains the most important goal of all.

It’s been a difficult situation and the league deserves credit for persevering and not canceling seasons the way others have.

There are also a lot of unique logistics involved with playing soccer and football, including mandatory weekly testing for student athletes, and that on its own will be challenging enough.

But when the H-DNL meets on Tuesday, it should at least consider the potential problems with competing in so many sports at once down the road, when some of that could be alleviated by playing more sports earlier.

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