State Organizations Announce Start Dates for Fall Sports

A few state high school athletic organizations have announced tentative start dates for the fall sports season amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA), the Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA), and the Georgia High School Association (GHSA) have all given a potential starting point for fall sports, according to various media reports.

Photo: John Champion / Creative Commons

On Tuesday, the MIAA COVID-19 Task Force put forth a recommendation to delay the start of the fall sports season until September 14, with the Board of Directors voting unanimously in favor of it, according to a report from NBC 10 Boston.

“We do this with an understanding that our students desperately want to see a return to school athletics,” MIAA President Jeff Granatino said in the Zoom teleconference meeting.

The approval, according to NBC Boston, is dependent on upcoming state guidelines on the fall season for youth and K-12 sports. Additionally, the decision will ultimately come down to the OK from Gov. Charlie Baker, guidelines from the state’s department of elementary and secondary education, and the individual school’s plans for reopening.

On Monday, the FHSAA Board of Directors voted to keep its start date for fall sports of July 27 for its six fall sports — football, volleyball, bowling, cross country, golf, and swimming — according to a report from USA Today.

The decision flies in the face of the recommendation from the FHSAA’s sports medicine advisory committee, USA Today reported, as the committee urged to delay the start of football and volleyball.

To safely resume football or volleyball, Dr. Jennifer Maynard, a sports medicine consultant at the Mayo Clinic, said the state would have to record a documented downward trajectory in positivity rate for tests and an average of less than 5% over a 28-day period.

Wewahitchka athletic director Bobby Johns said in the nearly five-hour meeting that schools have the option of not beginning on the approved July 27 start date, and added another caveat.

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“A lot of this may be moot because we may get shut down again,” Johns said.

Much like Massachusetts, the GHSA also delayed the start of its fall sports season in the Peach State, according to a report from the Albany Herald. 

The organization voted unanimously to delay the start of its high school sports season by two weeks, to September 4, but will keep its typical 10-game regular-season schedule and five-week playoff structure, according to the Herald.

Practice is still slated to start July 27 and practice in pads can begin August 1. The new time table would put state championship games on the week of Christmas.