With fall athletics suspended, athletes look to possible winter sports season

Aric Thomas, a freshman on the football team last year, was looking forward to returning to the field in August.

Photo courtesy of JKR Photography

Aric Thomas, a freshman on the football team last year, was looking forward to returning to the field in August.

Daeshawn Tolbert, Staff Writer

The 2020 NSAA fall sports season, which includes football, volleyball, softball, cross country, boy’s tennis, and girls’ golf, has been suspended as a result of the COVID-19 global pandemic. This leaves student athletes, coaches and fans wondering when sports will go back to normal. 

Fall sports are currently suspended, but not cancelled, so there may be a chance that athletes who missed out on their season could still have an opportunity to play.  

“I hope we do have a season. This was our year to show the other schools that South has changed. When the season starts again, we will be ready. We worked too hard for them to just take our season away,” Aric Thomas said. 

Thomas is a Sophomore at South and a member of the football program. He played last year but was benched for half of the season as the result of an injury. He is a wide receiver and cornerback. 

Students are not the only members of the school who are disappointed in the current suspension of sports. Their feelings are echoed by South’s Athletic Director, Dennis Mitchell. 

“I feel bad for those athletes that are seniors, Mitchell said. 

Not only do senior athletes potentially miss out on their final high school sports season, but they may miss out on scholarship opportunities, which are often based on athletic performance, during the sports suspension. 

Studies show that student athletes are more likely to enroll in college preparatory programs and are more likely to graduate in general. 

Data has also shown that, when students take part in sports, there are more benefits than drawbacks. Sports have the potential to help students academically, physically, and help reduce both pressure and stress. 

OPS is the only school district in the Omaha metro to postpone fall athletics. This has upset student athletes, families, fans, and coaches. Many people have taken to twitter with #LetUsPlay. 

“No decision has been made yet about rescheduling fall sports,” Mitchell said. 

As a result, there was a protest at the TAC building on Tuesday September 1. The protest gave districtwide athletes a chance to have their voices heard.  

 “They think that they can just take our seasons away and we won’t have something to say about it. Well they’re wrong,” Thomas said. “We will fight for what we have worked so hard for. 

At the OPS board meeting on September 8, the board received public comments agreeing and disagreeing with the suspension of fall sports.  

While no decision was made about possibly playing fall athletics in the spring, the district is working on a plan that is safe and responsible for winter sports. 

The winter sports season is scheduled to begin on November 16.