MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Even with schools closed across the state and the debate over teacher pay, benefits, and education funding ongoing, some high school sporting events will still be played.

That’s putting teacher and coaches in a difficult spot, according to Morgantown High Basketball Coach Dave Tallman.

“It puts us in a tough spot to say ‘hey, it’s three o’clock I’m going to cross the pickett line and go coach my team,” said Tallman on WAJR’s Morgantown AM. “It’s not a real fair situation you want to put us in as coaches.”

Tallman is also a physical education teacher at Morgantown High School.

“I, for one, would never cross a pickett line past my fellow teachers to go in and coach,” he said.

But he said the issue hasn’t been cut and dry for everybody.

“They’re still allowing the state tournaments to go on, the sectionals things like that, which puts the coaches in a really tough situation,” Tallman said. “I really wouldn’t want to be a girl’s coach right now having to make a decsion on whether to coach my sectional or you know, go to Charleston and pickett with the teachers.”

Morgantown High girl’s basketball travels to Buckhannon-Upshur Thursday night, despite it being the first day of a planned two-day statewide work stoppage for teachers and service personnel. According to SSAC rules, a team must be represented by a coach during an official game, if not they will suffer a forfeit.

“There’s a bunch of us here that are probably not going to coach if it comes to that, it’s really going to put a damper on things,” Tallman said. “I don’t want to take that away from my kids and forfeit so I think the schools are going to have to decide you know, maybe the AD goes in and coaches.”

But the decision does drive a wedge among supporters of the work stoppage, Tallman said.

“It could get really ugly, and I pray it doesn’t come to that,”

The boy’s and girl’s basketball regionals are ongoing this final week of February.

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