JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – High school sports have come to a screeching halt thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, ruining the rest of the spring sports season and ending the playing careers of seniors across the state.
So, what about the coaches? Will they still get paid for work that they were supposed to do, but can’t, due to the pandemic scrapping the bulk of the spring season?
For the most part, yes.
The good news in several area counties is that spring sports coaches will be paid for their full season of work and not prorated, even though their sports seasons didn’t make it to the finish line.
Among area counties who had made decisions on paying spring supplements, Baker, Columbia, Duval, Nassau and St. Johns counties will pay the remainder of their coaching supplements. That encompasses sports like baseball, flag football, lacrosse, tennis, track and field and weightlifting.
Spring football remains the only gray area on pay.
Duval and Nassau counties will not pay the supplement to head coaches since spring practice had yet to start. St. Johns County, which, like Duval and Nassau, pays its football coaches separate supplements for spring and fall, had not responded by the end of the week regarding the spring football pay.
In Clay County, which pays some of the state’s highest athletic coaching supplements, director of academic services, Mike Wingate, said that the district had yet to make a final decision on athletic supplements for the spring season, including football.
“We’re still in discussion about it. We just want to do the right thing for our folks,” he said.
While not a staggering sum of money for any coach, every little bit helps, especially during a time of rising unemployment numbers across the country due to the pandemic. Remember, not all coaches are teachers.
In Columbia County, that means baseball and softball coaches will be paid the balance of their $3,127 coaching supplement, even though their schedules didn’t reach the halfway mark of the regular season. That also means the football staff will receive supplemental pay for spring practice, even though they won’t be permitted to practice.
“Our coaches are still getting paid in full as if sports were still being played,” said Columbia principal Thomas Hosford.
Duval County said that since seasons were in motion when sports were suspended, and, ultimately canceled by the Florida High School Athletic Association on Monday, coaches will receive the remainder of their pay. Football staff will not be paid a supplement.
“The spring sports coaches are receiving their full stipend, as all of our spring sports were already underway prior to the COVID-19 emergency shut down, with the exception of spring football. While the coaches are not able to physically coach the students, they are still performing their other coaching related duties …,” Duval County said in a statement.
Duval County said that spring sports coaches had duties that included facilities management, equipment inventory, budget analysis and updating certifications, among several other things.
Different counties in the state have varying pay methods for football supplements.
Some have separate supplements for spring and fall football and make it easier to decide to not pay them since the spring season had yet to start. Others, like Baker, Clay and Columbia, pay a percentage of their full supplement in the spring. Putnam pays its full supplement in the fall.
A look at select area counties and what they pay head football coaches.
• Clay pays 25% of its $6,370 football supplement after spring practice, roughly $1,593.
• Baker pays 30% of its $4,350 supplement for spring practice, about $1,305.
• Columbia pays 20% of its $4,616 supplement in spring practice.
• Nassau County pays $1,234 for spring football.
• St. Johns pays $929 for spring football.
• Duval pays a $705 supplement to head coaches in spring.