Every high school in Kentucky came into the 2021-22 year knowing that sports were going to be facing another year of strict restrictions due to COVID-19. The protocols are just as much a part of the season now as practice and film day.
But this season has seen a change in the way the Kentucky High School Athletic Association treats games that cannot be played because of one team or the other being forced to quarantine. Instead of counting cancellations as no contests, the team that cancels receives a forfeit loss, according to Webster County High School athletic director Matt Bell.
But that doesn’t leave those teams high and dry. Bell stated that teams who cancel have the opportunity to reschedule and take the loss off their record.
One WCHS team has been especially hard hit by this rule. The girls soccer team has been forced to cancel three matches to start the season due to quarantine rules.
The Lady Trojans were scheduled to play Union County on Aug. 12, Hopkins County Central on Aug. 16, and Trigg County on Aug. 19. Because of the frequency of those matches, one quarantine has resulted in three forfeits.
Head coach Matt Pratt says that it is his intention to reschedule those games, though no dates have been set.
The Lady Trojans were scheduled to play Union County Monday, and Crittenden County Tuesday, both home matches. Pratt said over the weekend they had been cleared to play, which made the UCHS match their season opener. (See separate story.)
In the meantime, the team sits at 0-3 because of the KHSAA rule. If those games are played later in the season, those losses will be wiped from the record and will be posted according to the result of the game.
The rule was established due to some coaches playing at the gray areas of KHSAA procedures for COVID cancellations, according to Julian Tackett, commissioner of the organization that oversees high school competition.
In an August 19 report by The Courier-Journal, Tackett was quoted as saying some district games were not rescheduled last season. In that event, the team with the highest RPI rating would be seeded higher in district tournaments. Because of the no-contest rule, it incentivized cancellation over actually playing in some cases.
So far, WCHS has seen very little effect otherwise from the new rule. The football team cancelled its scrimmage on Aug. 20, but the Trojans’ record was unaffected. At the middle school level, the softball team was forced to quarantine last week.