12 SportsZone Special: “A Season of Uncertainty,” with WVSSAC Executive Director Bernie Dolan


CLARKSBURG, W.Va. – As part of our 12 SportsZone Special: “A Season of Uncertainty”, our Abbie Backenstoe was on a zoom call with WVSSAC Executive Director, Bernie Dolan.

They spoke about the safety aspect of sports returning and what the stands may look like during football season.

The WVSSAC recently released two rule changes in addition to requirements and recommendations regarding the 2020 football season.

When asked what went into these decisions, Dolan had this to say.

“Well first of all when we changed the school to start to September 8th, we felt like we had to change or we did have to change the start of practice and then when you work backwards it tells you we had, for football, we had to miss a game and so we work backwards, got a start date and worked forward from that point as to what other important dates there are,” Dolan said.

He also touched on what went into separating the recommendations from the requirements.

“From there we then began to look at recommendations from the national federation of high schools as well as what we already put out before and talking to our coaches committees seeing what are some best practices we could institute that would continue to make it safer through this virus situation. And so that’s how we came up with some things. Some things we just thought were non negotiable and other things we felt like these are recommendations if you can do it, do it but if you can’t, you know they’re okay. But the requirements, we felt like we had to have those in,” Dolan said.

They shifted the conversation into what will happen if fans are allowed at sporting contests this fall. Dolan said the WVSSAC will not be responsible for setting rules on fans, but they will help schools develop them.

“I certainly don’t think whether or not you’re going to have fans and if you do have fans how many are allowed and what they’re distance and maybe the requirement for them, that will not come from us. What we’ll provide is once somebody either from the health department at the local level or at the state levels says these are what you have to do. You have to get to 50 percent, 20 percent, 100 percent, whatever they say then we’ll work with the schools to help them come up with the plan to say if we’re going to get those people in, how do I get them in safely?” Dolan said.

For more stories from the 12 SportsZone Special: “A Season of Uncertainty” return to the Sports tab on our website.

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