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Where all states stand on resuming high school sports this year

Mandarin WR Tristan Riley (6) outruns the Nease defense and sprints down the sideline for a touchdown in the first quarter at Mandarin High School Friday evening. Mandarin won the game 42-3. (Ralph D. Priddy, Contributed photo)
Mandarin WR Tristan Riley (6) outruns the Nease defense and sprints down the sideline for a touchdown in the first quarter at Mandarin High School Friday evening. Mandarin won the game 42-3. (Ralph D. Priddy, Contributed photo)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – High school sports in Florida don’t have a firm start date, while Georgia remains focused on starting competition this month and early September.

What about the rest of the country? It’s a bit all over the place.

As of this afternoon, eight states — California, Colorado, Maryland, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, Virginia and Washington — have moved all or a portion of their fall sports seasons to winter or spring, drastic measures meant to reduce the risk to athletes and coaches during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In Florida, school districts should get a better view of things next week.

The Florida High School Athletic Association’s Board of Directors are scheduled to meet on Aug. 14 in Gainesville to vote on parameters for a return to sports. As of now, the earliest that teams in Florida will be able to practice is Aug. 24, while games could resume — where it’s deemed safe — the week of Sept. 7.

That doesn’t mean things in the state will go smoothly next week.

If previous board meetings were an indication, there remains a massive divide on what to do. In one vote, the board voted 10-5 to start the fall season on time. Three days later, that same board reversed course with an 11-4 vote to push the start back to no earlier than Aug. 24.

The FHSAA has gathered input from two separate committees in the past week and even there the feedback has been split. Last week, the Football Advisory Committee was heavily in favor of Option 1, which would essentially allow football games to be held beginning the week of Sept. 7 and create a nine-week regular season and some semblance of playoffs.

On Wednesday, the Athletic Directors Advisory Committee leaned toward Option 3, which is the more radical of three proposals.

That option pushes the fall season to begin practices on Nov. 30, with the first date of the regular season coming on Dec. 14 and wrapping up Jan. 23. Winter season would start March 1 and end April 3 and spring season games would start May 10 and end June 12.

“The State of Florida is currently all over the board with the current situation as it pertains to COVID-19,” said one source who was in on Wednesday’s discussion. “At the end of the day, I hope the board of directors does what’s best for the student-athletes. Option 3 is essentially moving everything to the spring with how that’s laid out. South Florida isn’t in a spot for [Option 1]. But other parts of the state, places like North and West Florida are in a much closer spot to safely start.”

The Georgia High School Association allowed practice to begin as scheduled on July 27 and players there are now in pads and helmets and on target to begin scrimmages on Aug. 21 and 28. The regular season in Georgia was pushed back two weeks until Sept. 4. All other sports in Georgia can begin as originally scheduled.

So, we know where Florida and Georgia stand on high school fall sports, how about the rest of the country? Where do the remaining 48 states and the District of Columbia stand on resuming fall sports? It’s a bit all over the place.

Alabama: Football games can begin Aug. 20-21. Teams were permitted to begin practice July 27 but did not have to. The Alabama High School Athletic Association voted on July 22 to return to play on-time, but said the situation remains fluid and was subject to change.

Alaska: The Alaska School Activities Association said on its website that “it is the intent of ASAA to host championship events in all activities. However, dates, locations and formats may change due to the impact of COVID-19.”

Arizona: All school-related activities are delayed until at least Aug. 17 after a state order. That forced the Arizona Interscholastic Association to push the start of practices back until at least that date.

Arkansas: The Arkansas Activities Association is planning to move ahead with fall sports and got the go-ahead from Gov. Asa Hutchinson on July 31 to move forward. Practices with contact are scheduled to start later this week.

California: The California Interscholastic Federation announced that high school sports seasons there won’t begin until December or January.

Colorado: The Colorado High School Activities Association announced on Tuesday that football, volleyball and soccer moved to spring. Football will begin on March 4 and run through May 8.

Connecticut: The Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference announced its plan on July 31, with football allowed to begin practice on Aug. 17, and sports like cross country, field hockey, soccer, swimming and volleyball starting 10 days later. First games are Sept. 24.

Delaware: The Delaware Interscholastic Athletic Association will meet Thursday morning at 9 a.m., according to the Delaware State News and discuss a return to fall sports.

District of Columbia: The District of Columbia State Athletic Association announced on July 16 that sports would be postponed until January 2021. Football, soccer and volleyball can begin practicing Feb. 1, with games permitted Feb. 22 through April 16. Winter sports practices can begin Dec. 14, with games starting Jan. 4.

Hawaii: The Hawaii High School Athletic Association announced on July 20 that a “no-contact period” will be in place for all workouts through Aug. 18. According to the association, “Each member league will determine workout restrictions beginning Wednesday, Aug. 19th, at which time, the calendar will move to the “out of season conditioning and weight training” period.”

Idaho: The Idaho High School Activities Association announced that all sports were planning to start on time.

Illinois: The Illinois High School Association announced changes on July 29, keeping golf, tennis, cross country and swimming in the fall. It pushed higher risk sports like football to next year. That sport will start Feb. 15.

Indiana: The Indiana High School Athletic Association said in a July 29 tweet that high school sports are “on track to proceed as planned.”

Iowa: The Iowa High School Athletic Association has said football practice can start Aug. 10 and games can begin Aug. 27, unchanged from previous material. It says schools can be flexible in scheduling and is planning for a seven-week regular season.

Kansas: Gov. Laura Kelly ordered all Kansas schools closed until after Labor Day. The Kansas State High School Activities Association had initially said fall activities could begin Aug. 17.

Kentucky: The Kentucky High School Athletic Association Board of Control voted on July 28 to allow fall sports practice to begin Aug. 24. First competition dates for football are Sept. 11.

Louisiana: The Louisiana High School Athletics Association won’t allow sports until the state enters at least Phase 3 of its state reopening. The state just extended its Phase 2 by 21 days on Aug. 4. Seasons there are scheduled to begin Aug. 24.

Maine: The Maine Principals Association and the Interscholastic Management Committee voted to delay the start of fall sports until Sept. 8.

Maryland: According to the Baltimore Sun, the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association is postponing the fall and winter sports seasons. Two other governing bodies of sports in the state, the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association and Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland, have pushed fall practice dates to Sept. 1 or later.

Massachusetts: The Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association voted that fall sports should be pushed back to Sept. 14.

Michigan: The Michigan High School Athletic Association said that sports with lower risks like golf, cross country and tennis can start practice on Aug. 12. Sports like volleyball, football and soccer can practice, but not compete yet. Decisions on those will come by Aug. 20.

Minnesota: Football and volleyball moved to March. All other sports starting on time.

Mississippi: The Mississippi High School Athletic Association voted to delay fall sports by two weeks.

Missouri: The Missouri State High School Activities Association is discussing changes to the fall season, including the postponement of sports in hard-hit areas. Schools that are planning to start the year as normal are allowed to.

Montana: The Montana High School Association is planning to allow practices and games for teams to resume as scheduled. Multi-team events or invitational tournaments are canceled.

Nebraska: The Nebraska School Activities Association announced a fall calendar on Aug. 4, with football practice allowed to begin on Aug. 10 and games starting on Aug. 27. Schools with Week 0 games can begin on Aug. 21. Sports there begin as scheduled.

Nevada: The Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association has moved fall sports practice start dates to February. Winter, spring and fall sports will now all be condensed to six weeks of competition.

New Hampshire: The New Hampshire Interscholastic Athletic Association said on July 23 “that returning to interscholastic competition this fall will be individual school decisions.”

New Jersey: The New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association said it hopes to begin practices on Sept. 14 for all sports outside of football. Football is schedule to kick off on Oct. 2.

New Mexico: The New Mexico Activities Association pushed all sports into next year. They will run from January to June.

New York: The New York State Public High School Athletic Association announced on July 16 that the fall sports season would be delayed until at least Sept. 21 and the 2020 regional and state championships would be canceled. A condensed season beginning in January 2021 is mentioned if sports are off-limits the remainder of 2020. “As the state considers reopening, it is unrealistic to believe athletic seasons can start on August 24th as originally scheduled,” said Paul Harrica, NYSPHSAA president. “The priority will continue to be on the educational process and a return to learning in the safest way possible.”

North Carolina: On July 28, the North Carolina High School Athletic Association announced it would push fall sports back until at least Sept. 1.

North Dakota: The North Dakota High School Activities Association voted unanimously on July 16 to keep the fall sports calendar unchanged.

Ohio: The Ohio High School Athletic Association said that all fall sports could resume on Aug. 1, but a statewide order that was extended later that day by the Ohio Department of Health that makes competition in certain sports impossible. Football, soccer and field hockey are considered contact sports and can only hold practices and intrasquad scrimmages under the health order.

Oklahoma: The Oklahoma Secondary Schools Activities Association is planning to start all fall sports on time, but is prepared to push sports into spring and into late June under worst-case scenarios.

Oregon: The Oregon School Activities Association said on July 22 that it was keeping the practice start date on Aug. 17 for cross country, volleyball and soccer the same, but moving back the start date for those seasons by nearly a month (from Aug. 27 to Sept. 23). It said that “Football is considered a full contact activity per the Governor’s and OHA [Oregon Health Authority] guidelines and is currently prohibited.” It said that football restrictions need to be lifted by Sept. 28 in order to have a modified season and postseason.

Pennsylvania: No spectators will be allowed at events during Yellow and Green phases of reopening, said the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association. The PIAA has laid out three plans for schools in its 67 counties; a regular start of practices on Aug. 17; an alternate start with games pushed back from the earliest (golf on Aug. 20) to Sept. 14; and a hybrid, to begin no later than Oct. 5.

Rhode Island: The Rhode Island Interscholastic League announced Wednesday that it was pushing back the start of fall practice from Aug. 17 to Sept. 14 while awaiting state guidance on what sports can resume, according to the Principals Committee on Athletics.

South Carolina: Football practice can begin Sept. 8, with games starting Sept. 25, according to GoUpstate in a Wednesday afternoon update by the South Carolina High School League. Several sports can begin practice Aug. 17. Football and competitive cheerleading will be the final two fall sports to begin practicing on Sept. 8.

South Dakota: A fall sports task force recommended that sports there proceed as scheduled and the board of directors voted unanimously to accept that plan.

Tennessee: On July 28, Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee signed an executive order to allow Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association schools to lift contact sports restrictions. No changes to the fall sports schedule are being made, with regular season football games kicking off Aug. 21.

Texas: The University Interscholastic League said on July 21 that it was pushing back fall sports for Class 5A and 6A, the largest classifications in the state. Practice started Aug. 3 for volleyball and football in 1A-4A, but moved to Sept. 7, a five-week delay, for the larger classes. The larger classes are mostly in metro areas that have been affected more by COVID-19.

Utah: The Utah High School Activities Association announced on July 28 to go ahead with fall sports as planned.

Vermont: The Activities Standards Committee and its COVID-19 recommended to the Vermont Principals Association to push back the start of fall sports.

Virginia: The Virginia High School League voted 34-1 to delay the start of fall sports and push a slew of those to spring, beginning on March 1. That fall season calendar, along with cheer, cross country, field hockey, golf and volleyball will run through May 1.

Washington: The Washington Interscholastic Activities Association announced on July 21 that higher risk sports like football, soccer and volleyball would move to the early spring. Other fall sports like cross country and slow pitch softball would still be held in the fall, with practices beginning Sept. 7. Golf and tennis would be moved to fall also.

West Virginia: West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission executive director Bernie Dolan announced that football games could begin on Sept. 3, essentially a one-week delay. Soccer, volleyball and cross country can begin Sept. 2. Golf can start Aug. 24.

Wisconsin: The Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association voted 8-3 on July 23 to allow fall sports to begin with a delayed start. If football practice begins on Sept. 7 as projected, the first games could be held Sept. 23. Boys and girls soccer and volleyball could begin Sept. 15. Golf, tennis, swimming and cross country could all begin between Aug. 20 and 25.

Wyoming: The Wyoming High School Activities Association announced on July 28 that all fall sports will begin on time.

About the Author:

Justin Barney joined News4Jax in February 2019, but he’s been covering sports on the First Coast for more than 20 years.