In a normal world, Ponca City Wildcat head football coach Scott Harmon and his staff would be busily preparing for the annual spring football session. And in about a week, the Wildcat football players typically would report to Sullins Stadium for two weeks of drills.
But things aren’t normal right now as school activities have been suspended for the remainder of the school year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Harmon and his staff are guided by rulings handed down first of all by the Ponca City School District in compliance with State of Oklahoma mandates. But for football programs coaches must heed to the standards set forth by the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association. The OSSAA is the agency that will tell coaches when they can resume activity.
In a statement issued at the beginning of the week the OSSAA addressed the situation:
“Even though our state has started the ‘re-opening’ process, we feel it is important for our member school facilities to remain closed until at least June 1. This will give us enough time to review data from our state and local government entities, our health-care professionals, and the other national sports and activities governing bodies. Based on the information we have at that time, we could adjust the June 1 date and/or add or relax restrictions to the summer activities regulations. Our focus has become doing all we can do to help preserve the opening of schools and activities in the fall.”
So there will be no practices or workouts at least until June 1. What the OSSAA will eventually permit is still unknown.
“We may be closer to certain possibilities,” Harmon said.
“They may let us get together in small groups and do some things.”
What’s is going on now with Harmon and his staff since they aren’t able to have spring drills for their players?
“We met today as an entire staff,” he said Thursday.
As with almost all meetings currently, the participants did not meet face to face in the same room. The get-together was a virtual one made possible by online applications. “We started the process of what we will do on a smaller scale.”
What the OSSAA will permit is still unknown, but it is possible that the agency will set forth guidelines that permit coaching staffs to do some types of things not normally possible during the summer months “to help us make up for the time lost,” in Harmon’s words.
“We might be able to have additional things like “seven on seven drills”, some camps or some other things that will enable us to be in a decent spot to begin next season,” Harmon said.
“But for now things are shut down until June 1 at least. When we are able to get going the big thing is that what we normally shore up in the spring will have to be done in preseason practice.”
While the shutdown affects all football teams alike, Harmon said that he feels the Wildcats might come through it better than some.
“Our system lends itself to this kind of situation. We like to keep it simple which enables us to patch up certain things quicker,” he said.
Although the Wildcats don’t have access these days to school facilities, such as the weight room, they have been individually working out at home.
“Coach Fowlkes (Strength and Conditioning Coach Antonio) has been supervising workouts for them. They have an app on their phones that allows them to get on with workouts,” Harmon said.
“Whatever happens we need to get going. Revenue from football helps other sports as well,” he said.