ORLANDO, Fla. – The FHSAA board of directors voted Friday to allow schools to begin practices for fall sports in late August.
In a 11-5 vote, the FHSAA decided to keep August 24 as the earliest date teams can start practicing.
Many school districts in Central Florida, however, will start later than that.
Seminole County Public Schools are currently scheduled to start practice August 31. Osceola County will start September 7. Orange County has not determined a start date, and Brevard County said it will not start practices -- for now. Meantime, Flagler County has postponed fall sports.
News 6 spoke with Lake Mary football coach Scott Perry after the announcement.
“We’re ready to go and would love to start on August 24th, but if our county, the powers that be deem it’s not safe yet, then so be it,” he said. “We’re going to wait until they tell us we can start. We’re ready for when they give us the green light.”
The first date of the regular season is September 4. The last date of the regular season is the same as the current calendar and the state series remains the same, with minor adjustments.
The decision came after more than two hours of debate.
Dr. Jennifer Maynard serves on the FHSAA Sports Medicine Advisory Committee.
"My fear, from a medical perspective, is until the virus is given the respect it deserves to quiet down, by introducing sports we are just adding fuel to the fire," she said.
“Everyone is going to be in school and I still struggle, I have for three meetings now -- struggle again today -- with not allowing kids to participate in any athletics, but we have thousands and thousands of kids that are going to be on campus,” Wewahitchka High School athletic director Bobby Johns said.
Over the past two weeks, Gov. Ron DeSantis and Sen. Marco Rubio publicly pushed for high school sports to resume.
“I think it’s important, I think it’s critical, that we have the boys and girls sports available for our students,” DeSantis said on August 6.
.@fhsaa should start HS football in phases to allow teams to implement precautions & allow for adjustments based on any problems that emerge:— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) August 13, 2020
1.2 week non-contact practice 8/24-9/5
2.On 9/4 decide whether to allow full practice
3.On 9/11 decide whether to allow 1st games on 9/17 https://t.co/tPN6uzvqdY
An amendment was added to allow school districts until September 18 to opt out of state series and to design regional calendars to permit play outside of approved sport season calendar.
Here are more details about the plan.