By Andy Villamarzo
Hernando Sun sports reporter
GAINESVILLE- For the time being, high school sports in the state of Florida will remain on the same schedule. That doesn’t exactly mean that all counties will be abiding by the decision made by the FHSAA’s board of directors this past week.
In an over 5-hour Zoom call, the Florida High School Athletic Association’s board of directors unanimously voted to deny a three-phase plan for starting fall sports on Monday night. Many coaches, athletic directors, and players were weighing in their opinions heavily via social media about wanting to start or delay the start of the high school seasons for fall sports.
The FHSAA’s executive director George Tomyn had previously already recommended not adopting the proposal, which would have set staggered start dates for practices in cross country, football, golf, and volleyball. This idea would have given more options in regards to areas around the state of Florida hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic. Instead, Florida’s high school association has voted to keep the fall seasons going as scheduled despite the uptick in cases.
Many states around the country have begun making announcements in regards to delaying practices or moving their fall sports to the spring. Texas has adopted to push back practices, with California taking a similar route. Florida’s northern neighbor Georgia and Alabama look to both remain on track with starting their fall seasons on time despite the rising amount of cases in the southern states.
The growing concern for many coaches, players, parents, and officials is how would they be able to figure out cases and keeping everyone safe that attends games. There’s no real protocol in place in making sure that testing is conducted throughout the practicing period and season. Higher levels of football like college football and the NFL are having difficulties implementing protocols to keep players safe.
How will high school athletes be tested enough to determine if they have the virus or not? That’s a loaded question in and of itself as there are many asymptotic cases all throughout the country, with many younger ages being carriers of the virus. Playing football per medical experts is a prime way to spread the virus, with no real way of stopping the spread.
When Hernando County athletes return to classes this fall, they will be mandated to wear masks in the classroom. In a special meeting, the Hernando County Schools Board voted to unanimously mandate having students wear masks upon return to classes this fall. They delayed the first day of school to Aug. 31.
Andy Villamarzo can be reached at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @avillamarzo