SEVERE WX : Air Stagnation Advisory View Alerts

Ashland High School decides not to play varsity football in spring, player safety main concern

Athletic Director Karl Kemper tells NewsWatch 12 Sports they will not play varsity football and instead will play JV football for the Spring 2021 season.

Posted: Feb 16, 2021 6:01 PM
Updated: Feb 16, 2021 11:47 PM

ASHLAND, Ore. — Changes and creativity when it comes to sports in the first half of 2021 will be plentiful. The latest development in that vein is Ashland High School deciding to only play Junior Varsity football this spring.

Athletic Director Karl Kemper confirmed via email Tuesday with NewsWatch 12 Sports the Grizzlies will only be participating in JV football and they would not field a varsity team. In a follow-up, Kemper explained the main reasoning behind the decision was player safety.

According to Kemper, the mismatch between a 6A and 5A school was "a competitive disadvantage in football that puts our kids physically at risk for catastrophic injury." He says the typical 6A roster can have anywhere between 80 and 90 players in their program every year (last year North and South Medford both had 53 players on their varsity roster, according to their 2019 OSAA rosters) while 5A rosters have significantly fewer players.

This spring season left Ashland High School at a distinct disadvantage. Of the 45 players that Kemper said they had in the summer, only 25 committed to play in the spring season. He said players made the decision not to play for "a variety of reasons."

Kemper said a JV schedule against local 4A teams would make the most sense for the Grizzlies with just 25 players, as that's the typical roster size for those teams.

The tough part about the decision, Kemper said, was playing a JV schedule meant seniors would not be able to participate. He did, however, say that any Ashland seniors wishing to transfer in order to play somewhere else would have the full support of himself and Ashland head coach Beau Lehnerz.

"In my professional role," Kemper wrote in an email to NewsWatch 12 Sports. "I always try to look through this lens: I will only provide opportunities for kids that I would for my own kid. In this case, both Coach Beau Lehnerz and I actually do have sons who play on the team. We both feel that this is an outcome in which we are comfortable as fathers that we are putting our boys in a safe situation to have a positive experience."

For now, the Ashland JV team is scheduled to play three games this spring according to their OSAA page.

This article was updated at 11:00 pm on Tuesday, February 16 with more recent information.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 559960

Reported Deaths: 5916
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah92679935
Washington67637461
Marion54229568
Clackamas48986458
Lane42887397
Deschutes36867225
Jackson33824411
Linn20085221
Umatilla19183190
Douglas16164323
Yamhill13663168
Josephine12992291
Polk11697112
Benton1106846
Klamath11033178
Coos8365128
Malheur687196
Columbia579566
Jefferson566670
Lincoln519562
Crook456162
Union408865
Wasco384850
Clatsop361737
Tillamook289754
Hood River282338
Baker270440
Curry257441
Morrow252626
Grant137418
Harney130434
Lake115723
Wallowa97213
Sherman2333
Gilliam2244
Wheeler1722
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 7488875

Reported Deaths: 78307
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles238572128282
San Diego6533734553
Riverside5251345604
San Bernardino5064856265
Orange4980225946
Santa Clara2537111991
Sacramento2436072607
Alameda2107511571
Fresno1973142430
Kern1937741974
Contra Costa1602411091
Ventura1516511245
San Joaquin1444151959
Stanislaus1137591515
San Francisco108273694
Tulare1056331200
San Mateo100004644
Santa Barbara71698586
Monterey69758651
Solano66448392
Sonoma66259429
Placer57362511
Merced56477724
Imperial51472820
San Luis Obispo44277382
Kings42642395
Santa Cruz34878237
Madera32456336
Butte32091351
Yolo31713273
Shasta30026510
Marin29968251
El Dorado24525177
Napa20491110
Sutter18292199
Humboldt15234129
Yuba13876104
Nevada13431112
Tehama12121142
Mendocino11800111
San Benito1104991
Tuolumne986191
Lassen899459
Lake8555118
Amador700873
Calaveras593695
Siskiyou577762
Glenn542339
Unassigned51983
Del Norte433943
Inyo385449
Colusa382421
Mono27804
Plumas239912
Mariposa230719
Trinity115819
Modoc8586
Sierra2730
Alpine1190
Out of CA00
Medford
Clear
51° wxIcon
Hi: 50° Lo: 32°
Feels Like: 51°
Brookings
Clear
68° wxIcon
Hi: 63° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 68°
Crater Lake
Partly Cloudy
51° wxIcon
Hi: 39° Lo: 14°
Feels Like: 51°
Grants Pass
Partly Cloudy
51° wxIcon
Hi: 52° Lo: 35°
Feels Like: 51°
Klamath Falls
Clear
47° wxIcon
Hi: 44° Lo: 24°
Feels Like: 45°
Few showers on the westside today, stagnant weather begins tonight
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Community Events