TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – The Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) has voted to begin the start of the fall sports season on Aug. 24.
Back on July 23, the FHSAA Board of Directors voted 11-4 to postpone the start of fall sports until Aug. 24.
The board had originally voted on Jul. 20 in favor of maintaining the state’s July 27 start date for high school fall sports, including football.
During Friday’s meeting, the group voted again, 11-5, to have fall sports to begin on Aug. 24, however, now school districts will have the option to set its own calendar.
Counties must make their decision before Sept. 18.
Below is a statement from the Hillsborough County School District regarding FHSAA’s decision:
“Our district will begin the 2020-21 athletics season August 24th, as approved by FHSAA. We will take every safety precaution to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 during athletic practices and events. Participating in athletics is voluntary. It is crucial for students not only to maintain physical activity, but also for their social and emotional wellbeing. As our students return to school, it is important we provide them the opportunity to reach their goals in every aspect of their educational careers.”
As part of Friday’s meeting agenda, the directors also discussed a COVID waiver in which student-athletes would have to sign stating, “Parents and students should be aware of preliminary evidence that suggests student-athletes are at an increased risk of contracting COVID-19 when participating in sports, especially those sports where physical distancing is not always possible.”
The waiver asks that student-athletes not only notify their parents but coaching staff and/or trainers if they begin to experience any of the symptoms related to coronavirus.
Hillsborough High School’s longtime football coach Earl Garcia says it’s a win that his players will be able to put on the pads in ten days in preparation for the terriers’ first season on their new turf field.
“Once we start football practice man we’re starting football practice and COVID and all the other stuff going on in the world we’re gonna have put that in the back burner for the 2 1/2 hrs but we will follow what ever protocols the CDC and our county says,” Garcia said.
Coach Garcia tells 8 On Your Side he’s hopeful parents, alumni, the band and students will be allowed in the stands.
“We’d love to play ten football games and go on to the playoffs but we understand that’s all fluid its not beyond the realm of possibility starting and stopping down the road so knock on wood and keep our fingers crossed,” Garcia said.
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