FHSAA sets Aug. 24 start date for fall practices

Other options included delay until later in fall
Published: Aug. 14, 2020 at 1:47 PM EDT
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) -As the coronavirus pandemic persists, Florida’s governing body of high school sports voted 11-5 on Friday to allow the return of fall sports practices on Monday, Aug. 24. The first allowable regular season date in football, volleyball, golf, bowling, cross country, and swimming and diving is Sept. 4.

There is one amendment to the plan, giving schools an opt-out date of the state series by Sept. 18 if they believe a season is not feasible. Any school that opts out will be given the flexibility to compete outside the normal fall sports calendar if the need arises.

The decision answers the plea of an on-line petition that had over 40,000 endorsements by Friday morning.

FHSAA Board of Directors member Bobby Johns is a believer in local control over start date, citing that 21 of 30 school superintendents he talked to were willing to begin athletic competition alongside the start of classes.

“If those superintendents ad principals believe they can pull it off, I just have a hard time telling them we’re not going to give them the opportunity to do that,” said Johns.

Other options discussed by the FHSAA included delaying the start of fall practices until mid-October, even as late as November 30th. A Sports Medicine Advisory Committee was in favor of waiting until the opening of schools before making an informed decision on virus containment.

“My fear is that until this virus is given the respect it deserves to quiet down, by introducing sports, we are just adding fuel to the fire,” said Dr. Jennifer Maynard, a representative of SMAC.

Under the adopted plan, football teams would be reclassified following the opt-out deadline.

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