Kentucky high school sports will maintain a holding pattern as time ticks away before the scheduled start of the fall season.

The Kentucky High School Athletic Association Board of Control voted at Friday’s meeting in Covington to pause plans to ramp up preparations for all fall sports except golf as the state has seen a recent uptick in COVID-19 cases.

High school golf, the easiest sport to maintain consistent social distancing mandated by Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshears’ office, can largely go on as planned with a scheduled season opening of July 31.

Not so for the other fall sports – football, soccer, volleyball and cross country – which will not advance to the next planned segment of activity for the scheduled opening day of practice July 15. Instead, those sports will continue as they have since early June with limited workouts and drills involving small groups.

There remains a slim chance those sports could still begin on time this season, but that will depend on statewide progress in suppressing further spread of the coronavirus.

KHSAA commissioner Julian Tackett did sound a hopeful note that sports will happen this year during the work session for the board before Friday’s vote.

“We’re playing this fall,” Tackett said during the meeting, which was webcast live to the KHSAA’s YouTube channel. “We’re going to participate in athletics and activities this fall. We don’t know what it’s going to look like, but we’re going to.”

Even golf will have to adjust, with Friday’s vote mandating just two spectators per golfer this season in another move to limit potential virus spread and maintain social distancing.

As for athletes in other sports, it will be more of the same through Aug. 2 when the board meets again to reevaluate. Athletes, other than golfers, will be limited to six hours of voluntary workouts per week – with flexibility on how that time is divided – at least into early August. Teams have been allowed to hold non-contact practices involving 50 or less participants since June 29.

Tackett said the board may meet again in late July to formulate a plan for August. Much will depend on how well Kentucky fares in adhering to guidelines from the Governor’s office and the state health department to limit the spread of COVID-19.

“If our state wants high school sports, you’re going to have to do the CDC recommendations on masking, on distancing, on hand-washing – that’s it,” Tackett said. “You’re making a choice. Regardless of your motivation, whether it’s political or otherwise, you’re openly saying, ‘I don’t want us to get back to normal as fast as we could,’ when you defy it.”{&end}

– Follow sports editor Jeff Nations on Twitter @Jeff_NationsBG or visit bgdailynews.com.

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