When you have had a hall of fame career that has spanned more than 50 seasons, you have run into your share of issues over the years.
Perhaps the most perplexing issue for Frank Monica has been the coronavirus.
“I’m upset about the inconsistency of everything,” said Monica. “If we are allowing swimming, baseball – and there was no reason to cancel baseball – we have American Legion and travel ball is going on rampantly throughout the United States with no restrictions, and you have volleyball inside a gym, they are holding football to a different standard.
“My other thing is if some parishes do shut down, those that are open and want to play, should be allowed to.”
“We need to keep this economy going,” he continued. “It is a virus but it’s deadly to a very small, select group of people. There are people who are willing to be out there and take their chances. If you do test (positive), they just send you home. There is nothing else that you can do. There is no vaccine yet.”
Monica has an even bigger concern.
“My number one thing is we have to get kids in school. If we don’t get them in school, then don’t have football, anyway. Our kids need school. They’ve already missed half of a year,” he said.
Another concern for Monica is timing.
“My big thing is why are we making decisions now?” said Monica. “I don’t understand it. We still have a lot of time. I don’t know why we are making decisions right now.
“If you just gave us a timeline and say the first football game will be after Labor Day. If we are not right with that timeline, it’s OK to move it. You can move the target date. With a timeline, coaches can prepare for that accordingly. We will just back up from that. In college, they are allowed so many practice days prior to whenever that first game might be.”
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards recently extended Phase Two for an additional two weeks.
Regardless of Edwards’ directive, it will be up to Louisiana High School Athletic Association Executive Director Eddie Bonine and the group’s executive committee to provide further guidance to member schools.
“Mr. Bonine is in a position that he has to listen to the governor,” said Monica. “No matter what we do as a target date, if the governor slides it, he (Bonine) has to go with the governor. That’s where we are with that.
“To look seniors in the eye and say, ‘guys, we will not have football’ – guys who have prepared not for one year, but prepared for five years in some cases, to become a senior.”
That has made Monica a proponent of an opt-out option for schools that many not want to field teams in the fall. He also proposes a flexible schedule.
“I don’t care if you put them (schools seeking to participate) all in a hopper and pull and say you have six games left in the season and you then just play one another. Fans just want to see games. Those seniors need to have a chance to play. Our fans want to see our boys play,” said Monica.
Monica said he also favors a waiver system.
“Give the people an option right now and ask if they want to play,” the veteran coach said. “Send out waivers if you want to play or not. If your parents want you to play or the parents do not want you to play because they are concerned, but from what I understand, my parents are on board about moving on. I do know they all want their kids in school, and that’s a big thing. It gives people a ray of hope.”