Only 29 days away, the Florida High School Athletic Association is fighting a race against time in regards to changing its start dates for the 2020 fall sports season as COVID-19 cases continue to spike across the state.
Nonetheless, the FHSAA is “optimistic” all sports will open as scheduled with practice on July 27 and preseason play beginning Aug. 12-15, according to a report from the Miami Herald.
Regular season openers for football and other fall sports, including bowling, cross country, golf, swimming and diving, and girls volleyball, are expected to start the week of Aug. 20.
“The governor [Ron DeSantis] and commissioner of education [Richard Corcoran] are very optimistic about schools opening as scheduled in the fall,” FHSAA executive director George Tomyn said during a virtual meeting on Tuesday. “I’m also remaining optimistic. At this moment in time, our staff is counting on a fall sports schedule that has already been published.”
With coronavirus cases rising, things could change at any moment. According to a data tracker updated Friday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Florida has reported 31,048 cases in the last seven days and a total of 111,724 confirmed cases.
However, Tomyn said the FHSAA has no Plan B in place as of right now even though discussions have taken place. “And we are prepared to discuss them as they come upon us.”
Tomyn added that student safety is still the No. 1 priority and that there is still a lot of uncertainty with what the future may bring.
“We intend to start things as is calendarized,” Tomyn said. “That could change this afternoon at four o’clock, and that could change this afternoon or tomorrow morning at 10 o’clock. We know that’s the biggest issue that we have.
“It’s the unknown, not knowing exactly what the case may be or what tomorrow may bring.”