According to multiple media reports, the Georgia High School Association (GHSA) has decided to delay the start of the 2020 football season by two weeks. The original start date was scheduled for Friday, Aug. 21, but will now be Friday, Sept. 4.
“We all want it to happen. I think the biggest thing that was the sticking point was when,” Pepperell football head coach Rick Hurst said in a phone interview. “I know (Executive Director) Dr. Hines ... (and) Dr. (Glenn) White, our assistant superintendent of Floyd County, did not want to give up regular-season games.”
Hurst is a first-year member of the GHSA executive committee and traveled to Thomaston for the board of trustees meeting.
“Being a first-time member on the committee, I wanted to get a vibe on how it was going,” Hurst said. “It was good to get a feel for how that board of trustees was leaning and I think what they decided was best for our state. I think everybody in that room wanted to play athletics.”
Football practice is still scheduled to begin on Monday, July 27, and pads will be allowed beginning Saturday, Aug. 1. Scrimmages will be allowed on Aug. 21 and 28.
“The game of football is a great teacher and a great motivator and it teaches us a lot about the aspects of life,” Model football head coach Jeff Hunnicutt said in a phone interview. “To me, it’s only going to benefit us. Instead of giving these kids a heartbreak right now, the GHSA is allowing them some hope and I think that’s big as far as for the mindset of some of these kids, especially these juniors and seniors.”
Per media reports, the GHSA will keep all 10 games on the docket for football teams plus a full five weeks of state playoffs. All other fall sports will start on time.
“First things first, you’re thankful for the GHSA and Dr. White and the things they’re trying to do save, not only the football season, but all the fall sports,” Coosa football head coach Jeff Mathis said in a phone interview. “You only get one senior year. They’re trying their best to come up with a plan. A lot of things are still up in the air. You just kind of control what you can and hope the powers that be make the best decisions for not only the school situation, but the sports situation.”
This comes after several Georgia school districts have either made the move or are mulling the option to start the academic year virtually. On Monday, Gwinnett County Schools announced they will begin the 2020-21 academic year virtually.
Many states across the country have already committed to delaying the beginning of the 2020 varsity football season. Multiple regional states including Tennessee, Mississippi, South Carolina and North Carolina postponed the start of their high school football seasons. Florida, Alabama and Texas are considering postponing their start dates as well.
California announced Monday it will start its high school football season in either January or February of 2021.
Hines is scheduled to meet with the Sports Medicine Advisory Council (SMAC) on Wednesday.
“We need sports. We need these kids to come together in a time in this country right now, the best thing that can happen, is a community and kids and people to come together for a common cause and sports does that,” Hurst said. “My belief was if it means us pushing back the season two weeks to give everybody in the state of Georgia an opportunity to play, then it’s a no brainer to do it.”