0428 SPO Jeff Clowse2 BDN

Turner baseball coach Jeff Clowse, talking with Drew Ries, left, and Cory Walker (7) during a 2019 game, is relegated to meeting online with his players this spring.

The Rock Valley Conference won’t be taking advantage of the 30 contact days that the WIAA approved earlier in April.

Rock Valley Conference commissioner Ray Vance said the conference’s athletic directors met via teleconference Friday to discuss it.

“We did end up declining to use those days,” Vance said. “We met in the afternoon, and earlier the superintendents had met and given us the directive that the RVC wouldn’t be taking part in the 30 days.”

The measure was essentially enacted to give seniors one final opportunity to suit up in high school. No end-of-season tournaments would be held, and the mini-season would be played mostly in the month of July.

“There are a couple of reasons we aren’t taking advantage of it,” Vance said. “A lot of it is just the unknown factor of it. We really have no idea if the stay-at-home mandate is going to continue past the current time. And even if it does, a lot of families are going to be using July for vacation time. And the fourth of July is in there as well, which complicates things.”

Vance said budgetary concerns also played a factor.

“The budgets are done as of June 30,” Vance said. “So what that means is the money that’s needed to run the sports during those 30 days is going to come from sports for next year. I just think there were a lot of problems with that plan. We would all love to see the seniors be able to play once more, but all of the athletic directors that I spoke to were in the same boat.”

Vance said even the weather had something to do with it.

“Playing baseball and softball would still be fine,” Vance said. “But having a kid run two miles in 95-degree heat doesn’t seem like a good idea, and there just wasn’t another solution that made sense.”

Beloit Turner baseball coach Jeff Clowes is still holding Zoom meetings with his players, hoping for something to change.

“We are still holding out hope that somethings changes,” Clowes said. “I think as coaches we were all surprised that the word came down the way it did. We’re still working with our kids on a regular basis, following the rules that are in place.”

Clowes has heard from some coaching friends that the Metro Conference in Milwaukee has a 16-game schedule in place, should the restrictions be lifted in time.

While that doesn’t appear likely for Clowes’ Trojans, he is still maintaining regular contact with his squad.

“We meet with a different grade level every day at 1 p.m.,” Clowes said. “We talk about school work, personal care and we also talk some baseball. We are doing some remote training with hitting, infield and outfield. We’re trying to be as involved as we can with them.”

While Clowes shares a sense of sorrow for the seniors that are likely missing out on their final chance to compete, he said the absence affects kids throughout the program.

“We are really missing out on opportunities to build relationships with the younger kids in our program,” Clowes said. “This would’ve been a great year to establish some cohesion between the classes and to pass the culture down, because we’ve got a really talented freshman class and it’s just a lost season for them.”