JANESVILLE

Hope.

That’s the prevailing word for both Janesville Youth Football and the Janesville Youth Baseball and Softball Association.

Hope that a 2020 season can still take place.

JYF is currently open for registration for the 2020 season. If enough players sign up for the four leagues offered, a full season is planned.

“It will be business as usual,” JYF president Trever Brandenburg said. “I think a lot of families are excited about bringing some normalcy back into their lives. We have had overwhelming support about having a season.

“We’ll certainly follow the guidelines set forth by the WIAA and United States Football Association as to any COVID-related issues that we must address. We’ll know more on that when those two organizations give us their recommendations on how to proceed.

“And if we don’t get enough kids signed up for certain leagues, then we won’t have a season in that league. That’s totally up to the parents, and we fully understand that. This is completely an optional season. If you are comfortable playing, we encourage you to come out and play.

“As of now, we will let the community dictate if there is a season, and if we have enough registrations.”

JYF is offering tackle leagues for third-sixth grade, seventh grade and eighth grade, as well as a 4K-fourth grade flag football league.

Those interested can apply online at https://jyfl.sportngin.com/register.

JYBSA is also holding out hope of having at least a shortened 2020 season. The current goal is to start play the first week of July, but many factors will go into the final decision on whether to cancel the season or play a shortened version of it.

“We will always put safety first,” JYBSA president Duffy Dillon said. “We’ll never jeopardize health issues over kids playing a kids game.

“Right now, Rock County is still in Phase One of the Rock County Rebound plan. A lot of planning and procedures will have to be put into place once we reach Phase Two for us to operate and begin playing, but hopefully we’ll have that option.”

Not having a season would be detrimental to JYBSA. The non-profit organization has a yearly operating cost of roughly $100,000, and many of those expenses are incurred whether there is a season or not. Maintaining fields, insurance costs, payroll taxes and general operation costs are all included in the yearly expenses.

Twenty-five percent of the yearly expenses are paid with players fees, while the remaining 75% comes from fundraising, hosting tournaments, concession sales and community sponsorship. The annual JYBSA fundraising event is a big moneymaker with JYBSA participants selling raffle tickets door-to-door. The third annual Dale Barry Memorial fundraiser for JYBSA is also on hold, and Dillon said that would be a big loss if it doesn’t take place.

“With no operations, we have no revenue stream,” Dillon said. “A deficit like that could have a negative impact for years to come.”

The Rock County health department recently ruled that baseball practices are allowed, but with certain restrictions.

The biggest restriction with that for JYBSA is that the Janesville School District closed all of its elementary, middle school and high school facilities until at least June 30. That means any JYBSA teams allowed to practice will have to practice at the Janesville Youth Sports Complex.

“Our traveling teams were picked in February, so we’re going to let them practice and play in a few tournaments outside of Rock County,” Dillon said. “But in order to do that, we have to make sure that the host site is following safe guidelines and doing everything to ensure our players’ and coaches’ safety. If not, we won’t send teams, or if it gets loosey-goosey during the tournament, we’ll pull our team out right away. We will take no chances with their health.

“We hope by Wednesday (June 10) of next week to have a better understanding of what our final decision will be, and if it’s to go ahead and play, what our planning process will be for game days.”

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