It took a grueling five-hour meeting to make this decision but the Florida High School Activities Association voted to allow fall sports to begin on time. The vote was a 10 to 5 decision. Fall sports will be allowed to get going on Monday, July 27. The FHSAA made the decision despite the recommendations against it from the association’s Sports Medicine Advisory Committee (SMAC).
ICYMI | The Florida High School Athletic Association went against its own medical advisory committee and gave the go ahead for fall sports to start Monday. https://t.co/rsUboVgjRP
— News4JAX (@wjxt4) July 21, 2020
The SMAC recommended football and volleyball be delayed until further notice. According to 24/7 Sports, SMAC suggested a trio of benchmarks statewide as part of the return to play:
- There is an overall downward trajectory in COVID-19 cases.
- Less than five percent of people tested test positive over a 28-day period.
- There are at least two weeks of practice to condition for the season.
Data would be re-evaluated a few weeks after school starts to determine if sports can return. The SMAC considers other fall sports to be low risk. Other sports include golf, cross country, swimming and diving, and bowling.
Other Plans Rejected
Over the last month, the FHSAA COVID-19 Task Force worked to create a return-to-play plan. Under the plan, FHSAA schools would delay the start of practice until August 10. Athletic play would begin August 31, September 14 or September. 21. This plan was unanimously rejected. No other plan to delay the season was brought up.
The Moves Across the Country
Other states are figuring out what to do given the situation. Some states decided to delay the start of sports. According to NBC News, the California Interscholastic Federation expects to start fall sports in December or January. If that happens, state playoffs would be held in March or April.
According to the Orlando Sentinel, New York and New Jersey pushed its start dates back to October. New Mexico moved its sports to the spring. Virginia will have no sports in the fall. In addition, other states pushing back the start dates include Arizona, Hawaii, Mississippi, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vermont, Washington and West Virginia.