KENTUCKY (WFIE) - The Kentucky High School Athletic Association Board of Control decided to keep the start date for the high school basketball season, while changing the window for the Sweet Sixteen Tournament.
During a meeting to discuss the upcoming season on Thursday, the board voted 12-5 to keep the start dates for practice and competition.
Following the board’s decision, the Kentucky high school basketball season will officially tip-off on January 4, and practices will start on December 14.
14 Sports caught up with Henderson County boys basketball coach Tyler Smithhart to get his thoughts on Thursday’s announcement.
“Moving back the start of the season possibly a few more weeks, and pushing back the state tournament a month, would increase the odds we would get a full season,” Smithhart said. “From that standpoint, I was a little bit disappointed about the outcome, but overall, we’re still optimistic that we’ll give our kids a chance to play and that’s ultimately what we want.”
Despite voting to begin the season immediately following the new year, KHSAA board members are still concerned about the threat of COVID-19.
“If our goal is to get kids to play and stop the spread of this virus, don’t have crowds or have very limited crowds,” Trent Lovett, a member of the KHSAA Board of Control said.
“We’ve talked on and on about some of the surges after these holidays, and I think it’s very irresponsible for us to try to start January 1 and start practices right away,” Mark Evans, another member of the KHSAA Board of Control said.
Despite the challenges, Coach Smithhart feels like the state could get through a season.
“We know that this virus isn’t going away right now or anytime in the next few weeks, but we’ve also shown that with proper protocols and managing this, that we can still possibly do that and keep our kids safe,” Smithhart said.
However, the board decided to change the dates for the Sweet Sixteen Tournament. Members voted 9-8 to reschedule the tournament to March 29 through April 8
The board did not vote on other winter sports postseason during the meeting, including wrestling, swimming, bowling, cheer and dance. Those sports will be able to start practice and competition on the same dates as the state’s basketball teams.
You can watch the KHSAA’s entire Thursday meeting in the video below: