ORLANDO, Fla. – In a highly contested vote, the Florida High School Athletic Association’s Fall Sports Task Force voted to recommend moving back the start date for all high school sports practices to August 10th at the earliest.
The FHSAA previously listed July 27th as the start date for practices. The recommendation is now expected to go to the FHSAA Board of Directors.
"Unfortunately, across the state we have seen a rise in cases," FHSAA President-Elect Lauren Otero said. "Hopefully they will not be the ongoing trend and they will start going down which is all what we wish for. But we do need to cross the bridges that are before us."
The task force will also look further into a system where individual school districts can determine when sports practices and games resume, depending on when they feel most comfortable. The proposal would result in schools scheduling games against schools within districts with similar start times for practices and games.
Allison Kirby, the principal at Jones High School in Orlando, was among the task force members agreeing with the motion.
“When we think about funding and fans, the longer we put the start date back, the more we may be able to get fans in there,” she said. “If we’re playing football with no fans, it’s not the same game and it’s definitely wrecking havoc on our budgets.”
Taskforce members put aside the idea of swapping sports to different seasons such as baseball to the fall or moving football to spring.
A formal date for the next Fall Sports Task Force meeting has not been set.