Bonine: ’It’s time to play football in Louisiana’

Bonine: ’It’s time to play football in Louisiana’
LHSAA Executive Director Eddie Bonine (Source: WAFB)

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Executive Director of the Louisiana High School Athletic Association Eddie Bonine testified during a house education committee meeting this morning Friday, September 4 to determine if and when high school sports would begin, specifically with football.

What should have been a fun Friday night during football season will have to be put on hold. However, today at the capital, the news got a little better for high school athletes.

As a sea of jerseys filled the room with parents, athletes, and coaches spoke to the house education committee about starting a safe football season around COVID-19.

“Everybody involved has been dealt a hand and I think this is just one more piece that brings the school systems back to a more normal specifically in the south when it comes to football,” says Bonine.

The LHSAA will create guidelines like other surrounding states have done to keep athletes safe during the pandemic.

Some of the possible guidelines focus on temperature checks before every game or if there is a COVID-19 outbreak at school or with a team, contact tracing will be used, but state officials really think the issue will be in the stands.

“Mainly the details are not so much the game themselves, it’s more so the fans in the stands, how that is going to work out. I really hope that they can at least have parents of the players be able to attend, have all the cheerleaders, the dance teams and the bands participate because that’s what it is all about,” said State Representative of District 74 Larry Frieman.

For now, the focus will be figuring out football before other sports. The education committee agreed with the LHSAA’s proposals, and those who spoke out today want to see the athletes play.

A parent from St. Paul’s High School whose son plays on the football team, Ryan Talley says, “I do feel much better, I expected to come here having to fight for what we believe in and fortunately they already had a plan put forward before we even got here. This is a good thing. So yeah, looking to hear more of the details after Wednesday’s meeting.”

Bonine says the LHSAA’s executive committee will meet on Wednesday, September 9 to make the final decision and figure out the guidelines and rules. Overall, it’s a huge step forward for athletes and their families, the proposed starting date for games will be October 8th.

The decision to move forward with high school football will be the LSHAA’s alone and not dependent on BESE or any other group. Bonine also stated that they would still move forward with football even if the state is still in Phase 2.

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