City League cancels all non-league games

By Joanna Chadwick

The City League has canceled non-league games for all fall sports due to COVID-19.

“There’s a few reasons,” City League athletic director J Means said. “One is — and I am not making this statement as a derogatory statement to anyone else — for our summer workouts, the coaches did great and the kids did great. We had very few (COVID-19) episodes.

“Other places could say that, too, but at least we kind of know what our folks are doing. We can’t guarantee that with everyone. I’m not saying that in a derogatory way at all.”

Another reason is money.

“It eliminates a lot of travel costs,” Means said. “I’ll spend $1,800 minimum to get a football team to Liberal. If I’m going across town, that limits costs.”

If sports are played, then decisions will have to be made about limiting crowds or playing with no fans. As a result, that gate money is lost.

“We won’t have 6,000 for Carroll vs. Northwest,” Means said. “So this is one way to help the budget last through the year.”

Sports that compete in the fall include football, volleyball, boys soccer, cross country, girls tennis and girls golf.

This affects more than just the City League, which has worked through the years to schedule teams such as Garden City, Dodge City, Liberal and Great Bend, as a way to get those western Kansas schools a full schedule.

Dodge City, for example, plays four City League schools.

It also affects marquee games, such as Bishop Carroll vs. Derby.

Each CL football team will get seven games with a bye through the first eight weeks.

Because there is no guarantee on whether there will be a postseason — or if Kansas City schools will play football in the fall — the City League would add an eighth game so every City League team plays each other.

“What’s our ultimate goal?” Means asked. “It’s to get our kids to compete. We reduce costs and reduce chances of COVID-19 … then we make sure they get the opportunity to play, if at all possible.”

Cross country already agreed to change the schedule and compete only against each other.

The rest of the fall sports need to formalize plans, but the following is what would likely happen:

*Golf will keep its schedule and if it keeps, for instance, the North Invitational, it would just be the nine CL schools.

*Tennis is working to adjust its dates, possibly adding in more competition dates against each other.

*Volleyball and soccer will do a double round robin. Volleyball will go to duals and then have two or three weekends of pool play with other league teams to make up for its lost tournaments.

Soccer will get its regular 16 games with the double round robin.