FHSAA task force continues recommendation to push back start date for fall sports

The start of fall practices for high school sports in Florida is set to begin in less than three weeks. .

Still, there are many questions to be answered regarding the recent spike in COVID-19 cases, fan attendance, possible official shortages, and whether school districts, particularly in South Florida, will even allow students to start participating in athletic activities at that time.

On Thursday, the Florida High School Athletics Association task force met virtually for the third straight week to brainstorm potential proposals for practices, as well as dates for the regular season and postseason.

Most of Thursday was spent reviewing a proposal presented by FHSAA administrator Justin Harrison.

Even that went through some revisions during the two-hour meeting. 

Harrison’s plan initially called for four separate divisions, all with different start dates for fall sports.

In football, golf, bowling, cross country and volleyball, schools, or districts, could select a division depending on when they could start practices. Each school may also select a different division for each sport.

The current start for fall practices is July 27. Under the proposal, Division I practices would begin on time. The other divisions would all have later dates: Div. II (Aug, 10), Div. III (Aug. 24) and Div. IV (Sept. 7).

The regular season start dates would be staggered, too. For example, Division I would begin Aug. 17 with the other divisions each following two-week delays. .

This provided even more leeway to schools without having to stick to the same date statewide.

Ultimately, the task force continued with its recommendation from last week to push back the start of practices for fall sports to Aug. 10 at the earliest. Because of that, they also decided to pair down the divisions in the proposal from four to three.   

This was a non-binding recommendation. It still has to be reviewed by the FHSAA staff and a decision to move forward with those dates has to be approved by the board of directors, most likely through a vote within the next week.