By: Lisa Bicknell
Austin Moore, a 2006 graduate of Estill County High School, was recently hired as the School District’s Athletic Director. He was also named the principal of the Success Academy.
There’s a lot to the role of athletic director in any year, but during a pandemic, that role, like that of every other educator right now, has become more complicated.
What do athletic directors do? They oversee scheduling, of course, but they also supervise and manage athletic directors at the school level. (Ruth Hughes is the athletic director for the high school, and Blake Crowe is the athletic director for the middle school.)
They also oversee the coaches, making sure they are following KHSAA rules, which, by the way, are constantly changing.
Coaches are required to complete trainings, and athletic directors make sure they are in compliance.
ADs also monitor booster clubs, which are governed by “the red book,” and athletic directors are “kind of the policeman there for their spending.”
Each school sport is budgeted a certain amount of money from the school district, and you guessed it, the athletic director gets to work up a yearly budget for each sport.
Student grades have to be monitored to make sure students are keeping up their grades and completing required work.
On top of all these duties, this year the fall sports season is trying to launch during a pandemic.
Moore said that school districts have been working with state and local health departments to come up with an attendance policy that will allow as many people as possible to attend the games in person while maintaining safe social distances.
Students will be allotted four tickets to sell to family members only.
If you are fortunate enough to be able to obtain a ticket, you’ll notice some of the other policy changes right away.
Football players on the sidelines will be spread out further, with more distance between them. Players will wear masks while on the sidelines.
And their game might look a little rusty. Up until two weeks ago, basically all football players were allowed to do in “practice” was to run, Moore explained. Since the decision was made at the state level to allow sports to be played, players have been practicing with minimal contact.
However, Moore said, things should still look like a typical football game on the field Friday night, despite the sparse crowds. Everyone in attendance will be required to wear masks.
Moore conceded that there is no way to keep player’s socially distant in such a high contact sport as football. He is working on a COVID testing policy for the players that he will present to the school board.
The Kentucky High School Athletic Association already mandates drug testing for players, and if students do not participate, they lose the privilege of playing. Moore said the same principle will apply to COVID testing.
“I’m not looking forward to turning people away,” said Moore as he prepares for the first game of the season.