Fall sports to start as planned

-Jeff Sargent

-Jeff Sargent

MONTGOMERY – In a press conference last Thursday, AHSAA executive director Steve Savarese, outlined the association’s “Best Practices to Return to Play.” The recommended guidelines were approved by AHSAA’s central board of control the previous day.

The association’s decision to move forward with its fall sports schedule came as the number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise.

“Our board has provided schools flexibility to play, or to not play without penalty, and to allow school officials to use their judgement based on the latest health information available for their specific region of the state,” Savarese said in the press conference. “As we realize there’s not a one-size-fits-all solution to this health conundrum, we understand schools might have to stop and start; delay and play at a later date; schedule and reschedule.”

Fall sports teams had the option to begin fall workouts on July 27 with the first week used by football for acclimation purposes with helmets and shorts only. The other fall sports – volleyball, cross country, and swimming and diving – can use the first week for acclimation and tryouts. Schools not choosing that option may start fall practice on Aug. 3. The first contest can be Aug. 20.

Savarese praised the Central Board for its leadership and commitment by “providing member schools the tools to return to play as safely as possible. The purpose of the ‘Return to Play’ document is to offer AHSAA member schools best practices in order to commence the 2020-21 school year athletic seasons as scheduled and as safely as possible.”

He also cautioned that there is no way to eliminate all risks, but that the central board feels that the guidelines should help to mitigate them.

For more information including complete details of AHSAA’s “Best Practices for Return to Play,” visit www.ahsaa.com/2020-Fall-Sports-Rules-Modifications.

We’ll update you on all things football in our special Blount County High School Football Preview coming out Wednesday, Aug. 19.