Fall sports still in question


photo by Julianna Joyner

Both the offensive and defensive lines for Hagerty and Gateway respectively line up on the line of scrimmage, getting ready to rush the other side. Hagerty would go on to win 23-0.

With a mix of virtual and brick-and-mortar instruction(face-to-face) scheduled to start on Aug. 17, Seminole County has been planning the upcoming season of fall sports and how it will continue while also complying with COVID-19 guidelines. Due to COVID-19 concerns, athletics were pushed back to Aug. 31 after initially being set to start on July 27. But the biggest uncertainty is “will there be sports at all?”

The Seminole Athletic Conference (SAC) agreed with other athletic directors to give SCPS two weeks to evaluate and deal with any potential safety issues with students returning to campus.

Even though the start date was pushed back, football, cross country and sideline cheer teams are permitted to continue conditioning sessions.

“Programs that wish to begin conditioning sessions may do so after submitting social distancing and safety protocol plans for review,” Athletic Director Jay Getty said.

Schools must also submit a Return to Training plan to be reviewed and approved by athletic departments around the county.

Another concern is whether spectators will be allowed to attend high school sporting events. High school principals and athletic directors are scheduled to meet with the Director of Secondary Education/County Athletic Director on Aug. 13 to discuss the issue.

If they come close to canceling a sport, this will be done based upon the perceived risk (low, medium, high) and would not cancel sports all together. Each sport will be categorized by the perceived risk and the athletic departments and SCPS will determine if a sport needs to be cancelled.

“If a low risk sport is able to participate, the goal would be to try and create a framework for participation,” Getty said.

Dates and plans are contingent on upcoming meetings with the FHSAA and several advisory committees, according to Getty. These plans are based on how the coronavirus continues to affect the county rather than the meeting itself.

The Athletic Director Advisory Committee met on Aug. 5 and discussed three current options for athletics that the FHSAA has released. Option one was an Aug. 24 start date with a state series/championships, option two has a start date after August with a specific day to be announced with no state series/championships, and option three is to maintain three seasons with a delayed start date to be announced with a state series/championships.

“All of these plans and dates are still subject to change as the Sport Medicine Advisory Committee will review medical data and then meet with the FHSAA Board of Directors on August 14th to make a decision on the direction of the 2020-2021 athletic seasons,” Getty said.

The same question still holds true, will fall sports even happen? Only time will tell.