With the cancellation of the spring sports season and the ending of the school year early due to the COVID-19 crisis, seniors were not able to finish out their last year in high school.
But what can be done?
There are several plan and ideas currently being kicked around.
One plan is to allow current seniors and senior student athletes to come back for the 2020-21 school year for a 13th grade, if they so wished.
The idea has seemed to gain steam in recent weeks.
“It only makes it better for them,” Logan High School baseball coach Roger Gertz said. “It will allow them an extra year to mature for the chance to get scholarships, another year to upgrade their test scores, and the biggest thing in my opinion, is their parents get to have them home another year.”
Gertz said the extra year would be beneficial for many of the seniors and senior student athletes. Many, however, will go on to college after graduation. Some will not.
“They should (have a choice),” Gertz said. “Most really need it. If they don’t get this chance their baseball careers could be over. At best, most will go two years without playing because not many first-year freshmen play right away.”
Man baseball coach Mike Crosby said one other idea is to have Logan County’s 13th-graders attend school at the Ralph R. Willis Career and Technical center on Three Mile Curve.
Crosby, a teacher at the vocational center, said second-year seniors could possibly learn a trade in their extra year of high school.
“In my eyes, and I’m not Bernie Dolan and those guys from the SSAC, I see an avenue,” Crosby said. “Our vocational school, Ralph R. Willis, where I teach, we offer that 13th year of school free for graduating seniors. Basically, you are considered an adult student but you can come back free of charge and pick a trade and you are there all day. We have vocational schools in every county throughout the state.”
Crosby said the seniors should have this choice.
“The kids could have a choice. Only the ones that want to return could sign up at your vocational or career technical school in your county,” he said. “I think it’s a good move. Not only will it given them the option of coming back and playing it will also allow them the opportunity to learn a trade and have something to fall back on since their high school credits will already be out of the way.”
Crosby said the vocational center could easily house the extra students. Overall, enrollment in Logan County has been declining in recent years.
“If you look at Man, Logan and Chapmanville, if you end up with 50-60 seniors by the time you divide it up, that won’t hurt us a bit,” he said. “We have between 14-17 programs. Some of us could handle an extra 5-6 per class and some of us could have 10 more. I think that it would be pretty good for them.”
One other thing in the air is the three-week summer practice period.
The normal period usually runs from early June until around June 25.
There’s a plan of moving the three week period to July 6-25 and that would morph into early August when fall sports practices are to get under way.
The WVSSAC is expected to have a meeting on May 18 to discuss all of this.
“We haven’t really heard much,” Crosby said. “I know that everyone is trying to come up with a solution to maybe play a short season in the summer time, a single elimination tournament, or possibly letting the seniors get to come back to school. But in order to do that you have to have a plan.”