Florida High School Athletic Association Votes to Start Fall Sports July 27; Swim Season Is On

Jim Kelly
Florida High School Athletic Association Votes to Start Fall Sports July 27; Swim Season Is On
The Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) voted after a lengthy Board of Directors meeting to go forward with a July 27 start date regarding fall sports. After a four-hour meeting that discussed various options, including pushing back the start of fall sports to August 10, the board voted to allow schools to return to the playing field next week. However, each individual school district will have the option to withhold its teams from returning. Florida has been one of the hardest-hit states by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Swimming and diving is a fall sport in the state of Florida, and was deemed a low risk activity by the Sports Medical Advisory Committee (SMAC). Football and volleyball were deemed high risk sports while bowling, cross country and golf were also deemed low risk. The board’s medical advisory committee recommended the state delay the football and volleyball seasons but the recommendation was unanimously voted down by the board, according to WTXL News in Tallahassee.
The committee also discussed schools having their athletes sign waivers before being allowed to play. The waivers would acknowledge the signs and symptoms of COVID-19, and the risks of the virus. The committee also noted that spectators will not be allowed to attend practices or competitions, but each district will have the right to make a decision regarding fans in attendance, although it is recommended they do not permit spectators.
SMAC recommended for all schools to have COVID-19 screening in place with temperature checks. Prior to any participation, students must complete a waiver saying they acknowledge the risks of playing.
During the meeting, the BOD engaged in back-and-forth discussions that also included moving the fall season to another point on the calendar, such as what California has decided to do. Before adjourning, the Board of Directors decided to meet again and further discuss the recommendations contained in the SMAC report.