FHSAA task force recommends pushing back fall sports

Following their meeting on July 1, the Florida High School Association’s (FHSAA) fall sports task force recommended that the start date for fall sports in the state be pushed back.

For now it is only a recommendation. July 27 remains the official start date and the first time teams around the state can begin practicing.

The task force was established this summer to simply provide recommendations to the FHSAA. It was at that July 1 meeting, the group’s second such meeting, that the task force voted to recommend that the FHSAA postpone the start of fall practice two weeks to Aug. 10.

For now, teams around Lake Okeechobee are pushing forward with the plan of July 27 being the start date, though the uncertainty of how not only the start date but the entire fall season will play out has to be in the back of every coach’s mind.

Even before the task force’s recommendation, Moore Haven football coach Brent Burnside was planning to keep things as normal as possible for his players.

“Other than the extra precautions, we’re treating this as any other summer program,” explained Burnside. “First day in helmets is July 27 and the kickoff classic against East Lee County is Aug. 14. That’s what we’re going with. I don’t think you say much else to the kids like ‘I don’t know’ or ‘They might shut us down.’ We’re just saying that we got the green light, the schedule is what it is and we’re going.”

Also at the meeting, task force members floated the idea of considering switching fall and spring sports this year, with baseball, softball and other spring sports to be played first and football and other fall sports moving to next year.

But that idea was shot down due to the potential of COVID-19 causing another shutdown in the fall and forcing those same spring athletes who just missed their season a few months ago to lose out on another opportunity.

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