KHSAA will push back football season the Sept. 11

By a near unanimous vote, the Kentucky High School Athletic Association Board of Control voted to move the high school football season's first date of competition to Friday, Sept. 11, with helmet-only practices beginning on Monday, Aug. 24.

The football playoffs will be moved back one week to Nov. 13 and the state championships will be played on Dec. 11 and Dec. 12. This would allow for a football program to play nine regular season games, if they can pick up another game in the open week between the end of regular season and the beginning of playoffs.

Soccer, cross country, and volleyball will begin games on Monday, Sept. 7. Official practices, of six hours per week, will begin on Monday, Aug. 24, for these three sports. The first full week of practice will begin on Monday, Aug. 31.

Golf will still be scheduled to begin competition on Friday, July 31.

Monday, Aug. 24 seems to be the main date to start back practices in most of the 2020 fall sports, which includes competitive cheer and dance. In Tuesday's KHSAA Board of Control meeting, KHSAA commissioner Julian Tackett stated that he had an overwhelming amount of people saying they wanted fall sports to start back up, and that they felt the student athletes were in a safer environment within the school systems as opposed to outside sources and traveling out of state to compete.

Out of the 18 KHSAA Board members, 17 voted in favor of the amended fall competition schedule, while Jerry Wyman, director of athletics for JCPS schools, abstained on each vote - citing he wanted to wait and see what the numbers looked like before committing to these proposed start dates.

The KHSAA Board of Controls plan to meet again on Thursday, Aug. 20. Tackett warned, "We have to be ready to pivot at a moment's notice. We have to be flexible."

From now through Aug. 23, KHSAA will stay in current "Segment 3" in which practices are limited to groups of 50 and subgrouped into 10 or fewer. Also a 6-hour limit on weekly basis. Full practices, beginning on Aug. 24, will be limited to 7 1/2 total hours that week.

The KHSAA Board of Control meeting, which lasted nearly three hours and was viewed publicly by nearly 5,000 viewers, also made the motion to limit football teams to 60 players in uniform on game nights. Also, seeding for fall sports postseason tournaments will be determined by first regular-season matchups between teams. The Board also approved Kentucky teams playing out-of-state teams, whose county borders touch Kentucky.

The three local high school football coaches were glad to see the season get a start date, even if the season is shortened somewhat.

"Under the circumstances, I am very happy and excited for the amendments made to our football season," Southwestern High School football coach Jason Foley stated. "We now have a much clearer vision of what to expect and look forward to preparing our kids to get in the condition to play football on Sept. 11. Obviously, I think we all will have some unknowns and adversity to deal with all the things going on but we will be ready."

For Pulaski County High School head coach Johnny Hines, he was happy to see a start date but still has concerns of ironing out a complete schedule. Like many other teams, the Maroons had a bye week scheduled after Week 3. Hines hopes to fill that hole to get in a complete nine-game schedule.

"It is better than nothing, and we are glad to be able to play football agin," Hines stated. "We will be happy to get to play football at full speed, and we will do the best we can."

On the heels of the program's first-ever state championship title, the Somerset High School Briar Jumpers and Coach Robbie Lucas are chomping at the bit to get a chance at back-to-back state crowns this fall. However, Lucas was not overoptimistic about the start to the 2020 football season.

"This is the best of worst case scenario," Lucas stated. "I just hope the COVID doesn't continue to work against us."

STEVE CORNELIUS is the CJ Sports Editor and can be reached at Follow him on Twitter at @CJSportseditor.

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