Kentucky high school football, as well as all the other fall sports, hang in the balance of when and if they will compete this fall. The Kentucky High School Athletic Association Board of Control meets on Tuesday, July 28, at 10 a.m., to discuss the plans for the 2020 fall sports season.
After a total shutdown of all sporting events back in March during the girls Sweet Sixteen state basketball tournament, there has not been a single KHSAA sporting event in nearly five months. However, fall sports teams were allowed to begin conditioning, with restrictions, starting on June 1. The KHSAA Board of Control was last in session on July 10, when it voted to continue those same restrictions until Aug. 3.
The KHSAA restrictions mandated that 'high touch' fall sports like football, soccer and volleyball cannot conduct game-like situations, and focus on conditioning and skill training in groups of 10 student athletes.
Tuesday's KHSAA Board of Control meeting may lift those practice restrictions, and they might address a possible start date for some - or all - of the 2020 fall sports seasons. Golf is already scheduled to start their competitive season on Friday, July 31.
But most everyone is eager to see when, and if, the high school football season will start. Many feel that the football season will start much later than it's originally scheduled Aug. 21 start date. But with football being a 'high touch' sport, some fear the 2020 Kentucky high school football season might be in jeopardy.
David Buchanan, president of the Kentucky Football Coaches Association, meet with KHSAA commissioner Julian Tackett on Friday, and came back with a good feeling that high school football will be played this fall in the state of Kentucky.
"I go into (Tuesday’s) meeting with a great feeling," Buchanan stated. "We may have a delayed start, but I do think we’re going to have a season.”
High school athletic associations across the country are struggling with the same issue with far ranging results. Some states are electing to move forward as scheduled, others have instituted modified plans that delay the start on a wait-and-see approach or shift the entire fall season to the spring months of 2021.
In the local area, Little League and Cal Ripken youth baseball and softball leagues have been going strong since June 29 with no significant health-related issues.
Below is a present status of each state's plan to start (or not start) their high school football seasons. The state-by-state high school football start-date guide was published by MaxPreps.com on Friday, July 24th, and written by Mitch Stephens. (All information is reprinted below with complete credit is given to Mr. Stephens and MaxPreps for this accumulated information.)
Alabama — The Alabama High School Athletic Association’s Central Board of Control announced July 22 of its plans to follow specific guidelines and begin football with games starting on Aug. 20-21. Football practices in Alabama are scheduled to start July 27 in shorts and helmets. Schools that do not want to begin on July 27 may start fall practice on Aug. 3.
Alaska — The Anchorage School District canceled all sports activities on July 22 for at least two weeks due to a large spike in coronavirus cases, pushing back the fall sports practices from an original July 29 date to at least Aug. 5. According to the Anchorage Daily News, the football season will likely now be pushed back at least a week as well. Nothing official has been announced from the Alaska School Activities Association.
Arizona — The Arizona Interscholastic Association announced it will delay the start of all athletics after Gov. Doug Ducey’s recent executive order pushed back the school year start until Aug. 17. The governor’s order was in response to a spike in the state’s coronavirus cases. The high school football season was to start the weekend of Aug. 20.
Arkansas — On July 7, the Arkansas Activities Association released a statement that is prepared to start up the fall season as planned “in accordance with regular AAA calendar.” Those plans are “contingent upon compliance with all directives as issued by the Governor’s office and Department of Health.”
California — The California Interscholastic Federation moved back its fall and winter seasons to start in January. In an announcement on July 20, “The CIF has determined, in collaboration with our 10 Sections, that education-based athletics for the 2020-2021 season will begin with a modified season of sport schedule.” The CIF split all its sports into two “seasons,” instead of three, with varying start and playoff dates. Story. The Northern Section plans to keep its regular calendar and won’t be eligible for state championships. Story.
Colorado — The Colorado High School Activities Association lifted moratorium against in-person condition sessions between coaches and high school participants beginning on June 1. After that date, decisions regarding summer athletics and activities have been made at the local school district level. The CHSAA’s administrative oversight for athletics and activities will resume when camps, clinics and fall sports practice dates are projected to begin. “This isn’t recreational park play or a free-for-all,” CHSAA commissioner Rhonda Blanford-Green said. “Our schools will face some challenges, no different than professional and collegiate sports to resume any level of student participation.”
Connecticut — The Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference moved into its second phase of re-opening on July 6, which would allow conditioning and skill development of 5-10 athletes for all sports up to three times per week. “This (second phase going forward) is a good sign based on the positive trend that continues in Connecticut through the governor’s re-opening strategy plan,” CIAC Executive Director Glenn Lungarini said in a CTPost.com story. “The plan right now is we will start fall practice as scheduled with football Aug. 17, and all the other sports on Aug. 27.“
Delaware — The Delaware Interscholastic Athletic Association member schools announced July 2 that member schools may begin summer athletic activities under a regulation approved by the Department of Education. Member schools that have approval from their own district/school were allowed to begin workouts on July 6.
District of Columbia — Per July 16 announcement, the District of Columbia State Athletic Association has postponed interscholastic activities until January 2021. Under this plan, winter season practices would begin Dec. 14 with games coming Jan. 4. Postponed fall sports would begin practicing Feb. 1 with games getting underway Feb. 22.
Florida — Following three days of severe backlash — with even a chunk of the state threatening to secede from its high school sports governing body — the Florida High School Athletic Association on July 23 voted to push back the start of the fall sports season. Instead of starting practice Monday, it’s been pushed back to Aug. 24 due. In an emergency meeting, the association’s Board of Directors voted 11-4 to delay the fall season nearly a month after Monday voting 10-5 to keep the regular calendar intact. Story.
Georgia — The Georgia High School Association postponed its football season by two weeks. In a GHSA Board of Trustees meeting held July 20, the state’s governing body decided to move back the first games from late August to Sept. 4, but will keep a 10-game schedule and a full slate of playoffs. Other fall sports in Georgia will start on time. Story.
Hawaii — The Hawaii High School Athletic Association in conjunction with its member leagues on the four major islands collectively agreed that all interscholastic practices be added to the list of suspended activities. The association and public health continue to monitor the situation weekly.
Idaho — The Idaho High School Activities Association and its Board of Directors announced on July 16 it plans to proceed with the start of fall sports as scheduled.
Illinois — The Illinois High School Association announced July 3 that its Stage 2 Return to Play Guidelines were approved by the state Public Health Department (they were also changed to Phase 4 verbiage to match the state’s Restore Illinois plan) The Phase 4 Guidelines allows teams, with local district approval, to gather in groups of 50 coaches and students or less to conduct practices or contests. IHSA coaches can conduct team activities on 20 contact days between June 30 and Aug. 9.
Indiana — The Indiana High School Athletic Association announced July 6 that offseason fall workouts would be allowed to begin despite Gov. Eric Holcomb’s extended restrictions on restaurants, bars and entertainment venues in the state. Athletes are limited to 15 hours per week on campus until July 19. Locker rooms can’t be used, formal competition is discouraged and contact not allowed.
Iowa — The Iowa High School Athletic Association announced July 17 that it is preparing to begin the 2020 fall sports season as scheduled. Practices are slated to get underway Aug. 10.
Kansas — The Kansas State High School Activities Association allows summer strength and conditioning workouts to begin provided they follow the state’s mandates of mask-wearing, no contact and social distancing. However, some schools have self-suspended workouts after players tested positive for COVID-19.
Kentucky — In Segment 3 until August 3rd. June 29, Segment 3 began, all sports can begin practices with up to 50 present as long as divided into groups of 10 with a coach. “High touch” fall sports like football, soccer and volleyball cannot conduct game-like situations and focus on conditioning and skill training.
Louisiana — Louisiana High School Athletics Association executive director Eddie Bonine said on July 14 that football won’t be played until the state enters phase four of the COVID-19 reopening. Practice can begin when the state moves into phase three, which is scheduled sometime after July 24. Discussions have begun in flipping the fall season to the spring.
Maine — The Maine Principals’ Association approved or discussed several measures around COVID-19 on May 7, including that some in-person instruction could be allowed starting July 6.
Maryland — The Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association released a statement on June 11 noting fall-sport practices are scheduled no earlier than Aug. 12.
Massachusetts — The Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) has formed a COVID-19 Task Force Sub-Committee under leadership of MIAA President Jeff Granatino. In its last announcement, the MIAA is “not planning on making any changes to the start date of the Fall 2020 season.” Those start dates are Aug. 21 for football and Aug. 24 for all other sports.
Michigan — The Michigan High School Athletic Association announced July 17 that member schools will begin the 2020-21 fall sports season as traditionally scheduled. Football practices can begin Aug. 10 with other fall sports following Aug. 12. The organization is leaving the door open for contingency concepts for potential interruptions.
Minnesota — The Minnesota State High School League approved training for coaches and athletes starting on June 15 and ending Aug. 7. Fall conditioning and practice is currently scheduled Aug. 17 but will look at the results of the summer programs and follow the guidelines set by Gov. Tim Walz before consideration of alterations to the fall season.
Mississippi — On July 14, the Mississippi High School Activities Association executive committee delayed the fall sports season two weeks. Football practices may begin Aug. 17 with games getting underway Sept. 4. All other sports can begin practicing Aug. 10 with first contests Aug. 24.
Missouri — The Missouri State High School Activities Association granted relief on summer limits on contact between coaches and students athletes. The Board voted to make the summertime dead period and summer limits on contact optional for the summer of 2020.
Montana — Between June 1 and July 31, current Montana High School Association summer rules will be in effect. On August 1, the state will be back to out-of-season restrictions until fall sports practices begin.
Nebraska — The Nebraska School Activities Association announced on July 20 that it is preparing to begin the fall sports season as scheduled. Practices are scheduled to begin Aug. 10.
Nevada — The Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association on July 23 pushed winter sports back to a January start and the spring calendar to an April beginning. The NIAA does not anticipate state championships will be held. Story.
New Hampshire — There are no new updates on summer activities or the fall season at the New Hampshire Interscholastic Athletic Association, but does offer mental health support for all student-athletes in wake of COVID-19.
New Jersey — The New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association is still planning to start sports in the fall, but not until Oct. 1, according to the NewJersey.com. The NJSIAA’s “Return to Play” model released on July 10, the football regular season will be only six games instead of the traditional 10. Gov. Phil Murphy signed an executive order July 20 to allow contact drills, practices and competitions to resume in outdoor venues only.
New Mexico —New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced on July 9 that high school fall contact sports, including football and boys soccer, will be postponed until at least the spring semester. Story.
New York — Per July 16 announcement, the New York State Public High School Athletic Association announced that the state’s fall sports season would be delayed and fall regional and state championships canceled. Story.
North Carolina — The North Carolina High School Athletic Association lifted its dead period on June 15. Each individual school system is permitted to make its own decision regarding when to begin summer activities. Administrators were warned to prepare for the possibility of recurrent outbreaks while the NCHSAA works on developing policies.
North Dakota — The North Dakota High School Activities Association Board of Directors voted unanimously on July 16 to proceed with all fall sports as scheduled. Open dates include Aug. 3 for soccer; Aug, 10 for football, boys tennis, girls golf and cross country; and Aug. 17 for girls swim/dive and volleyball.
Ohio — On July 7, the Ohio Department of Health issued an executive order allowing contact and non-contact competition to resume for all sports on a short-term basis if teams agree to a certain set of guidelines. The message was delivered by Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and Lt. Gov. Jon Husted during their daily press conference and via Twitter. According to the Ohio High School Athletic Association 2020 football calendar, coaches can begin running players through practices Aug. 1 with the first regular season games scheduled for Aug. 24.
Oklahoma — The Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association said on July 23 that it plans for all sports, including football, to start as planned in the fall but is prepared to adjust with updates of the coronavirus pandemic. OSSAA executive director David Jackson told members he would provide schools with health guidelines but local districts will decide how to deal with positive COVID test results and fan control.
Oregon — The Oregon School Activities Association executive board on July 22 agreed to keep in place the first date for fall high school sports practices, but bumped back the date of the first contests by four weeks. Aug. 17 remains the first date for fall practice, but the board pushed the first contests from Aug. 27 to Sept. 23. The executive board plans to meet again Aug. 3 to re-examine the issue. Story.
Pennsylvania — The Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association said in a tweet on July 15 that it was planning on moving forward with the normal start of the fall sports season unless otherwise directed by the state. It said heat acclimatization for football would begin Aug. 10 with first practice for the remaining sports on Aug. 17. “PIAA is committed to providing a season for all sports in the upcoming school year and will be flexible if conditions would change,” it said in the tweet.
Rhode Island — On June 24, Gov. Gina Raimondo laid out a plan for youth sports, among other activities once Phase 3 begins. No-contact and low contact sports will be able to play games between “stable groups,” with no limit to group size. Raimondo left the door open for the return of fall sports at the high school level, stating that the Rhode Island Interscholastic League would be back later in the summer “with new rules around how students can play once school starts up again.”
South Carolina — The South Carolina High School League Executive Committee on July 15 approved a plan to play fall sports with a few changes. They include: pushing back the practice start date from July 31 to Aug. 17, a seven-game football season starting Sept. 11, and region games in girls tennis, volleyball and football played first with a shortened playoff schedule.
South Dakota — The South Dakota High School Activities Association unanimously approved an on-time start for all state-sanctioned sports in 2020-21, including football. A 17-page document with guidelines pertaining to COVID-19, among other items, was included in the July 22 meeting. Football practice will begin Aug 3 (smaller divisions) and Aug. 10 for larger schools. The SDHSAA committee considered moving the fall season back to the spring but determined it not to be “practical or necessary at this time.”
Tennessee — The Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association’s Board of Control approved a contingency/hybrid plan on July 22 that gives flexibility to the state governing body on a week-to-week basis, depending on the development of the coronavirus pandemic. If Tennessee’s current State of Emergency is lifted when scheduled (Aug. 29) the football season could start as early as Sept. 18 with an eight-game regular season and full postseason. Crowd sizes will be reduced, temperatures of fans and facial coverings will be required. TSSAA report.
Texas — The University Interscholastic League (UIL) announced July 21 that fall activities for the state’s two largest classifications, 6A and 5A, will be pushed back five weeks, the start of practice from Aug. 3 to Sept. 7, and games to begin Sept. 24-26. The football playoffs in those classifications originally slated for Nov. 12, now begin on Dec. 3, and title games, originally scheduled Dec. 16-19 at AT&T Stadium, now will take place sometime in Jan. Class 4A, 3A, 2A and 1A will continue as scheduled with practices beginning on Aug. 3 and games kicking off Aug. 27-29. Story. … The Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools (TAPPS) has pushed back the start of fall sports season for its member schools. Football practice may begin Sept. 8 with games getting underway Sept. 28.
Utah — The Utah High School Activities Association board of trustees gave the go-ahead on July 9 to continue plans to begin the fall season as scheduled. See story. The USHSAA’s governing board also affirmed its stance of allowing schools and local schools district to determine whether participation is allowable and advisable under state and local guidelines. According to a release distributed by the organization, the board of trustees will meet again later this month to review the situation. … In a statement earlier this month: “The UHSAA staff will continue to monitor any additional information provided by the Governor’s Office and the State Superintendent’s Office as it relates to interscholastic activities.”
Vermont — There are no updates on the Vermont Principals’ Association website concerning the summer and fall after it closed down the spring sports season. On June 18, the Vermont Agency of Education offered guidance to Vermont schools concerning COVID-19.
Virginia — The Virginia High School League Executive Committee on Wednesday unanimously decided it would delay the start of Fall sports and that football would not be played in the fall. The committee will reconvene on July 27 to decide on three recommended calendars. The three models include A) playing only low-contact sports like golf and cross country in the fall; B) Switch Fall and Springs seasons; and C) Delay all sports until at least a Winter start with truncated seasons.
Washington — Washington became the fourth state and fifth region to move its football season to the spring. The Washington Interscholastic Activities Association announced July 21 a plan to completely restructure its 2020-21 sports season due to the coronavirus virus, including football starting in March. Instead of a three-season school year for sports, Washington has been reorganized into four seasons, with football, along with girls and boys soccer, and volleyball moving to season three from early March to early May. Washington will have a fall season but with non-contact sports cross country, slowpitch softball and girls swimming, golf and tennis. That will run through early November. Release.
West Virginia — The 2020 football season will begin with practice on Sept. 3, according to West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission executive director Bernie Dolan. He made the announcement on July 10 a day after West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice announced the start of the 2020-21 school year was pushed back to Sept. 8. Dolan said the current three-week summer training for all sports will continue through the end of the month, but that the regular season will be delayed about a month due to the recent two-week spike in coronavirus cases in the state. “It’s a little disappointing,” Dolan said. “It’s difficult. You wish we had a better handle on the virus. But you just have to deal with the hand you’re dealt.” Starting dates for other sports will be announced in the next day or two, Dolan said.
Wisconsin — On June 18, the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association released 16 pages of guidelines that will resume athletic activities with coach contact on July 1. “Within what has been a rapidly changing and evolving environment, we’ve done our best to research, examine and assemble the best advice we could identify,” WIAA executive director Dave Anderson said a release. “This mission and responsibility is larger than just sports.”
Wyoming — The Wyoming High School Activities Association has no new updates concerning summer activities or the fall season on its website.
STEVE CORNELIUS is the CJ Sports Editor and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @CJSportseditor.