KSHSAA announces sports will be played, but without fans

Korey Kogler, News Editor

With the winter sports season starting this week, athletes and fans will notice some big changes from previous years. On Tuesday, Nov. 24, the Kansas High School Activities Association  (KSHSAA) Board of Directors approved a plan to allow winter sports to happen, but no spectators will be allowed to watch until after Jan. 28. This announcement is huge after KSHSAA had previously been weighing the option to delay winter sports as a whole until Jan. 15. Southeast players are overall satisfied with just being able to play despite not having fans.

“I am sad that my friends and family won’t be in the gym watching, but I am just thankful for the opportunity to play,”  said Karsyn Schlesener, junior.

“Honestly, I’m thankful that we are getting a CHANCE to play,” said Eli Harris, senior.

I feel as if your parents should at least been allowed to come and try and spread out and sit by people you usually would,” said Bryant Banks, senior.

Players think this will change the atmosphere of the games but are hopeful that their team’s cheering will help make up for the loss of fans. 

“I feel like the atmosphere will be different than anything we have ever experienced. I think the biggest factor will be the noise, but our bench has plans to cheer loud and we will just have to adapt to the new norm. And to all the people watching at home… cheer loud to the screen,” Schlesener said.

I think not having fans will make the games less intense and take away the home court advantage,” said Jaxson Gebhardt, senior.

This change will affect all winter sports at Southeast of Saline, including girls basketball, boys basketball, and wrestling. The basketball teams will begin their competition on Friday, Dec. 4 at home against Hesston; and wrestling will begin competing later than planned after their first meet in Lincoln was canceled, so they will start on Thursday, Dec. 10 at home against Ell-Saline.

In addition to the change in spectators, KSHSAA also made the requirement of face masks for all participants, which includes athletes, coaches, officials, spectators, support staff, and all others attending/participating in school activities. The only exception to this policy is when athletes are actively playing and officials when the play is live.

The last change, the BOD made was the adjustments on the number of competitions allowed. KSHSAA changed the maximum number of games to 20 for basketball, not including the postseason; and boys and girls wrestling may have a maximum of 18 events and no more than 30 competition points, not including the postseason. With all the changes, several athletes feel KSHSAA made the correct decision, but some would like to see a few fans in the stands.

 “I think we should be able to have some people in the stands. Obviously not a full packed gym but I think they should allow 2 or 3 people per player who can come spectate would not be a bad thing,” Harris said.

“I believe that KSHSAA’s decision was the responsible one. Even though I wish my parents could be in the stands like I said, I am just glad to be playing,” Schlesener said.