Kwamie Lassiter II carries the football close to his chest as two other Kansas players come at him from left and right

Then-sophomore wide receiver Kwamie Lassiter II carries the ball during a drill at the spring football showcase on April 28, 2018. 

Column

If you rewind to about a week ago, you would see Kansas football gearing up for the beginning of the most important part of their offseason: spring practices. Set to start on St. Patrick’s Day, football players and coaches were looking forward to reuniting and getting back into their regular groove. 

However, all of this came to a screeching halt when the novel coronavirus caused the devastating termination of regular in-person classes on campus and of spring sports’ seasons entirely. Among the spring seasons canceled, this inevitably included Jayhawk football’s crucial offseason training. 

Spring practices are important for any program in college football, but this one hit hard for Kansas. Coach Les Miles is approaching his second season at Kansas and is attempting a full facelift of the Jayhawk football program. A huge part of the procedure is establishing chemistry and work ethic in the offseason. It’s an essential part of Kansas’ regimen for the upcoming 2020 season. 

The Jayhawks had new recruits enrolled for the spring semester and expected them to get started right away during the offseason, but now the COVID-19 virus has robbed them of the opportunity. The recruits that were ready for spring practices include wide receiver Lawrence Arnold, tight end Will Huggins, cornerback Karon Prunty, defensive end Caleb Taylor, guard Garrett Jones and wide receiver Kyler Pearson. 

That tallies up to six recruits who anticipated practicing earlier than usual with the Jayhawks. Spring practices would have provided an incredible opportunity for the recruits to get to know their upperclassmen comrades and coaching staff before the craziness of the summer and fall. Not to mention, they would have gotten a taste of the season to come while playing in the “Late Night Under the Lights” spring game. 

“Late Night Under the Lights” is also a critical opportunity for Kansas to attract future prospects for football seasons to come. The spring game was scheduled for Saturday, April 18, and while there have been no announcements from Kansas Athletics, with the way things are headed it looks like it will be canceled. 

This will force Kansas football to get creative with recruiting for next season, considering the NCAA has suspended in-person recruiting until at least April 15. Teams were also asked to suspend any official or unofficial on-campus visits from potential student-athletes.

Sport programs on all levels are suffering during this time of forced hiatus. While the future may be unknown for Kansas football, it is clear the safety and health of the student athletes, coaches and staff are of the utmost importance during this time.

—Edited by Brianna Wessling