LSE Athletics Uncertainty: What has changed following COVID-19?


Jacob Miller, Copy Editor

Lincoln Southeast High School has been known for its superior athletic programs throughout its history, and their record doesn’t seem to be stopping soon. Even with the COVID-19 pandemic, LSE’s sports programs have been as dominant as ever. Following these recent changes, the concern is not with their success, but their lack of revenue and uncertainties surrounding the seasons that have already had numerous cancellations of events. There are many students at LSE that participate in various sports, and there is a constant fear of games and events being compromised by COVID-19.

For many students, sports are just as important, if not more important than learning. Senior Barrett France knows how significant sports are to him, and how important they will be even after he graduates.

“High school sports are very important to me because I know I am going to remember them the rest of my life,” France said. “COVID-19 has just made everything a little more difficult and tedious.” 

Athletes and their teams have made it a habit every year to train as hard as possible during their summer off-season. France believes that without quarantine, the football team would be even more successful than they already are this season. Delayed summer workouts due to the pandemic created a rushed start for fall sports at LSE.

“It definitely took us a while to get going without consistent summer workouts, but everyone bought in and now we’re making a good run,” France said.

The only thing delaying the success of LSE athletics is the pandemic at hand, but there is no time saving method for getting around the obstacles created by COVID-19.

“There are no shortcuts this year because we want to keep everyone safe,” France said. Safety is important, but athletes are already risking their own safety to participate in sports. It is common among athletes to worry about catching COVID-19, but not because they fear the virus. The fear is missing two weeks of events and practices with an already shortened season.

COVID-19 cases among teams have caused cancellations and constant worry for missing the rest of their season. Spring athletes have already experienced this from last school year. With COVID-19 starting to spread in Nebraska, spring sports were cancelled before they could even start their season. It was a disappointing end of high school for 2020 seniors.

Lincoln Public Schools (LPS) officials met on June 23 to present the preliminary proposed budget for the 2020-21 school year. With COVID now widespread throughout Nebraska, athletics and in-person schooling are in constant danger.

“We do not know how deep and long the impact of the pandemic will last. This preliminary proposed budget emphasizes keeping reductions as far away from the classroom as possible,” said Liz Standish, Associate Superintendent for Business Affairs.

What does this mean for the athletic department at LPS high schools? According to the budget meeting, a highlight was that it “does not eliminate programs nor does it propose a reduction in force”. 

Another change for athletic events is in-person attendance as well as admission ticket and concession money. COVID-19 has really taken a hit on the revenue coming in for sports programs with these losses and changes. Many events across NSAA have been cancelled, creating problems with money from tickets or concessions and the ability for athletes to participate in the sports they love. Much uncertainty has surrounded the outcome of sports this year, and the spread of COVID-19 doesn’t seem to be slowing down.

Even with all of the changes made to the classroom and athletics across LPS, Lincoln Southeast and other high schools continue to compete in events all while ensuring the safety of everyone. COVID-19 has created many difficulties for participation in sports and funding across the district, but LSE continues to adapt to any circumstance and continues its athletic dominance.