TSSAA Board delays vote on football, soccer seasons

The TSSAA Board of Control delayed a contingency plan vote Wednesdy for the 2020 high school football and girls soccer seasons.

The TSSAA recently presented four options for the upcoming football season, all of which had a football starting date on Sept. 18.

However, the TSSAA also asked that it be exempt from Gov. Bill Lee's state of emergency that has been extended until Aug. 29.

If the TSSAA were to be exempt, the high school season might be able to start on time in August.

"“We are working with the Governor’s legal counsel and based on the conversation we are having, we think it is best to delay any vote on a contingency plan,” TSSAA Executive Director Bernard Childress said. “The Governor’s legal counsel stated that they need time to observe the data and work with us. There will come a time when we will have to make a decision on a contingency plan, but right now it is our opinion that we need to give their legal team the opportunity to see if it is needed in girls’ soccer and football.

“Their legal counselors are well aware of the TSSAA sports calendar and we will work to get an answer as soon as we can. TSSAA will not be making any further comment as the discussions with the Governor’s legal counsel are ongoing. If we have any chance of having fall sports, we encourage everyone to wear a mask, maintain physical distancing, and wash hands to help everyone reach the goal of getting the numbers down. The return on that investment would be that we do get to have fall sports on time this year.”

Oakland football coach Kevin Creasy said he is optimistic about playing football in the fall.

"The good thing (about the delayed vote) is the regular season still seems to be on the table," he said. "It's not canceled as of yet, so there's a chance the governor will come through and we'll have a regular season like always."

Rockvale coach Rick Rice was disappointed that the vote wasn't held.

"I'm not real happy about it, but you have to confidence they know what they're doing," Rice said. "The coaches around here and all over the state were listening today and nothing happened. I'm not going to try and be negative, but we just want to know something. Louisiana, Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky know what they're doing. From our standpoint that's all I want.

"Our kids want to know, they're asking are we going to play 10 games, three games or whatever? I was really anxious to see what plan we were going to use, but I'm behind Governor Lee and Bernard Childress. I wouldn't want to have their job right now, but give us a plan to go by."

The four options recently presented to the TSSAA Board of Control were:

1. If the executive order expires on Aug. 29, practice would begin on Aug. 30 with the first game on Sept. 18. All regular season schedules for schools would be replaced by the state office with a seven-week region schedule for all schools. Playoffs would be conducted as usual, but schools that do not make the playoffs would be able to play two extra games after the regular season.

2. All regular season schedules for schools would be replaced by the state office with an eight-week region schedule. The regular season would extend into Week 12 and the first-round of the playoffs would be eliminated (only region champions and runners-up would qualify). Teams that do not qualify for the playoffs would be able to play two extra games after the regular season.

3. Schools would keep their current schedule and begin play with the Week 5 game on September 18. Games scheduled against member schools for Week 3 would be played in Week 12. Games scheduled against member schools for Week 4 would be played in Week 13. Only region champions would advance to the playoffs beginning in Week 14. Schools that do not qualify for the playoffs would be able to play one extra game.

4. Cancel playoffs and championships. Start practice on August 30. Schools play games as scheduled beginning with Week 5 games on September 18. Move games against member schools from Weeks 1-4 to Weeks 12-15.

The Board's next scheduled meeting is July 22 at Siegel High School.

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