image of a high school stadium in Lincoln, Seacrest Field
High school football not yet cleared for official activities by NSAA

High school sports will soon be returning to Nebraska as the NSAA announced that beginning on June 18 sanctioned schools will be allowed to conduct camps, clinics and summer leagues. 

This will occur for all sanctioned sports except for football, basketball, soccer and wrestling. Open gyms will be allowed for those sports but not without restrictions that include individual skills and workouts only, no physical contact with others, no sharing of equipment and no grouping of students. This also includes an open gym supervisor that will be required to enforce all the restrictions.

“I’m somewhat surprised with the timing of it,” said Lincoln Public Schools Assistant Sports Director Adam Bonesteel. “Given that some of it goes against direct health measures that are still currently out there, but also not surprised as it kind of needs this progression.”

LPS has taken a more preventive approach to reopening athletic facilities as June 15 will be the first day that weight rooms will be open; an action that was permitted by the NSAA starting June 1.

“We took a little more measured approach to make sure we are doing it correctly and had the right measurements to make it a safe environment,” Bonesteel said. “So, this is definitely a step in the right direction.”

However, for some areas of the state this announcement comes with added pressure to ensure a normal sports season in the fall. Jeff Messersmith, Superintendent of Wynot Public Schools, says he meets with leaders from other schools about once a week. He thinks there will be some pressure from parents and grandparents to play the games, and allow family members to see the games.

“We’re just going to ask people to be patient with us and understand we’re all working through this pandemic,” he said. “And as long as we all cooperate with each other, we can weather the storm and hopefully next year will be normal.”

This announcement follows a spring sports season that was canceled entirely by the COVID-19 pandemic. This also follows an easing of restrictions by the NSAA as they allowed schools to open up weight rooms for voluntary workouts and conditioning that began on June 1.

My name is Geoff Exstrom and I am a senior at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. I pursuing a major in both Sports Media and Broadcast Production. Along with school, I am also a sports writer for the Lincoln Journal Star covering numerous high school and collegiate sporting events. I am also the Sports Director for 90.3 KRNU - UNL's student radio station. I've also had the great opportunity to create many podcasts throughout my media career including Athletes Unfiltered, the podcast hosted by myself as well as former Nebraska quarterback Adrian Martinez.