A modification to a public health order last week by Gov. Mark Gordon allows schools to offer their full slate of sports this winter.
Gordon changed Public Health Order No. 1 to allow for “indoor close-contact group activities and sports to occur in all settings,” according to a release.
“Wyoming has really held its own; Schools are open and sports are being played on Fridays and Saturdays,” Gordon said. “We want to be careful to avoid going backwards and losing the high ground we hold. Steady progress beats the alternative, which would be devastating to our businesses, our schools and our citizens.”
The Wyoming High School Activities Association quickly followed the governor’s press release with one of its own, detailing what schools must do in order to have basketball and wrestling this winter.
In short, districts must develop a plan similar to what they made to allow football and other sports this fall. The plan has to include details about what the schools with do with equipment, weight rooms, locker rooms, benches, ticket stands, PA systems and more.
The plan has to follow the Smart Start guidelines, the same suggestions and rules handed down by the state to allow schools to reopen.
By and large, basketball could look similar to years past, with two major changes. Tip-offs, to start games and overtimes, will be replaced with a coin toss, and the post-game handshake is being replaced with a wave from either free throw line.
Wrestling, too, will look similar to the past. The biggest change is multi-day tournaments are not allowed. Every meet must be a dual, though the teams can have up to three duals in a day.
At this time, the Cody and Meeteetse school districts have not released plans of their own, but Cody activities director Tony Hult said the winter sports would not look much different from the fall sports.
“My bet is we’re going to have to change the schedule,” Hult said of the new restrictions on those winter sports.
He said he thought middle school sports would be more heavily affected by the rules, as wrestling relied in the past on large tournaments, and basketball frequently had doubleheaders that are no longer allowed.
Those details will be worked out in November when all of the ADs get together to rewrite the winter sports schedules.
In Meeteetse, principal Scott McBride echoed the same sentiment, noting that fans wouldn’t notice much difference between the pandemic rules for volleyball and the new rules for basketball.
“I don’t see any differences in how the kids are going to compete,” McBride said. “The kids are supposed to practice in small groups. We’re not like a Cody or a Powell; we don’t have a ton of kids out. A small group might be our entire team.”