TAMPA, Fla. - The Florida High School Athletic Association has come out today with the first decision in two weeks regarding all spring sports. They have extended the shutdown until at least until May 3, holding out hope that they can still salvage some spring games.
But the coronavirus pandemic is already a threat to spring football and recruiting.
Right now, the football field at Gaither High is eerily quiet. The Cowboys’ plans for spring football, which was to start at the end of April, hasn’t been canceled yet. Still, there is doubt among high school coaches that players will be putting shoulder pads on this spring.
"I just don't see the spring happening this year because of the timeline they just created with the May 1 hopefully being back to school,” Gaither head football coach Kirk Karsen told FOX 13 Sports.
Karsen is already feeling the loss. He's been cut off from players who normally would be going through strength and conditioning right now.
"The kids are our family,” said Karsen. "We're one of few sports that really work out and are with these kids, pretty much 11 months out of the year. It's like not being able to talk to your sons and daughters every day."
On top of missing all the practices. The one thing the rising seniors are missing is eyes on them at practice from college recruiters.
"We have 11 kids with Division I scholarships on our team,” said Karsen. "We really feel we have four or five other kids that are D-I players too. What really stinks for them is that there are all these missing opportunities that they would have had to impress college coaches at spring football. It's also film lost that could have been put out to college coaches."
How long can football fields go without action before it affects games in the fall? When would practices need to take place to have players safely prepared?
"I'm thinking sometime around July 4 because you have to climatize the kids to the heat,” said Karsen. "There's been talking I've been hearing about maybe bumping the season back a little bit. Hopefully, we don't have to do that. There are going to be a lot of options, I think."