In what could be viewed as a response to the actions or lack of action from the governor’s office on the status of high school contact sports this fall, the Arkansas Football Coaches Association (ArFCA) issued a statement on Wednesday via Twitter about its readiness to take the next step in preparing their players for the fall season. In their tweet, the ArFCA mentioned that they have been in “phase 1” conditioning with their players since June 1 and they are now ready to take the next step according to their prior-approved schedule from the Arkansas Activities Association (AAA) to begin working their players out in helmets starting Monday, August 3.
The statement from the ArFCA concludes with their support of the decisions that are being made by Governor Hutchison.
In yesterday’s daily briefing from the governor at Arkansas Tech University in Russellville, Hutchison did not make any announcements or give specific information about a decision with respect to contact sports and their schedules. He did indirectly refer to sports in the context of reporting COVID -19 infection rates on a county-by-county basis and stated that this was one of the variables he was using in his decision making with respect to opening school in the fall and resuming sports. Governor Hutchison again made no mention of the status of contact sports other than to mention that the infection rate, specifically in northwest Arkansas was declining rapidly.
Some may interpret the ArFCA statement as a visible sign of frustration within the coaching ranks in the state. Coaches, players, and fans are seemingly becoming increasingly anxious as August 1 is just around the corner. Preparation time for an on-time start to the season is becoming shorter with each day. The issue of playing or not playing in the fall had not been addressed in several weeks, but is now beginning to re-surface in each daily briefing. It remains to be seen what effect the ArFCA statement will have, if any, on the Governor’s sense of urgency to make a decision.
Earlier this week, the AAA issued a statement regarding its acknowledgement of receiving questions on start times, schedules, etc., associated with fall contact sports. It further stated that any actions outside of the Governor’s directives on this issue “was not an option.”
Resident Press will continue to monitor this development. And if the Governor does make an announcement today or tomorrow, RP will be there to report it to our readers. In the meantime, stay with Resident Press for this and other sports stories that affect the River Valley.