TheTimesTribune.com, Corbin, KY

January 8, 2014

Too cool . . . for school

Snow, arctic temps have halted most athletic events locally


TheTimesTribune.com, Corbin, KY

CORBIN — By Dan Connell / Staff Writer

CORBIN — Frigid temperatures and wintry weather made quite an impact on southeastern Kentucky during the first part of the week. The effects of sub zero thermometer readings, along with snow and ice forced many school cancellations throughout the region.

Gyms across many sections of Kentucky remained empty as weather hampered basketball action and reduced the safety of teams ability to travel. The safety of each school's students, faculty, and staff are top priority when dealing with the negative effects of weather related cancellations.

Many schools winter sports programs fall into the same category. High school athletic directors must use sound judgement when making the decision to cancel scheduled events. Several factors weigh in during the process with liability, safety, and health issues being heavily considered.

“The safety of people being able to get out, the students, the ball players, and not taking a chance on bad roads, and getting out and having an accident.” Lynn Camp Athletic Director Danny Green said. “Of course the rarity we've had here part of it has been the temperatures, and not having people get out in these low, low temperatures like we've had the last couple of days.”

Green also commented on the empty gym factor.

“The health and welfare of everybody is first and then the next thing you want to think about is you don't want to play before an empty gym,” he added. “You may be able to take some four-wheel drives and get some ball players in and get your coaches there and actually have a ball game, but the parents want to come, and the fans want to come, and the students want to come and if you can't those people there, you're playing before an empty gym and it's not good for the fans, the game, or anybody.”

South Laurel High School's Athletic Director Ryan Nolan's focus was on safety as well.

“You try to make the best decision that you possibly can,” Nolan said. “The first priority is the safety of our student athletes, not only those, but the spectators who may be traveling to and from the venue.

“We want to do everything we possibly can to limit the risk, so road conditions always come into play,” he added. “We have to look at all possible scenarios and one of the scenarios is leaving a game at 9:30 or 10:00 and you're an hour away from home, the bus breaks down and you've got negative 20 degree wind chill with thirty high school kids sitting on the bus waiting for somebody to come and get them."

Both directors noted games are often rescheduled and publicized as soon as possible. Attempts were made to contact other athletic directors in the area, but those call were not returned before deadline for this story.