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Sarasota Thursday, Jul. 23, 2020 2 weeks ago

FHSAA reverses course, delays start of fall season to at least Aug. 24

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The organization's board of directors will meet again no later than Aug. 17 to determine if the new start date is appropriate.
by: Ryan Kohn Sports Reporter

A lot can change in 72 hours. 

Three days after the Florida High School Athletics Association Board of Directors voted to keep the start date of fall sports as July 27, the board has changed its mind. 

During a three hour, 18 minute meeting, the FHSAA voted 11-4 Thursday night to delay the start of fall sports until at least Aug. 24. The board will meet again, in person, no later than Aug. 17. Before that meeting takes place, FHSAA staff will meet with multiple groups, including the Sports Medicine Advisory Committee and the Athletic Directors Advisory Committee, to develop a full plan for the future of fall sports and determine if the target date of Aug. 24 is indeed appropriate. During Thursday's meeting, many board members said they wanted more information on COVID-19 cases across Florida before making any concrete decision, especially how the disease spreads once schools open.

As part of the approved motion, teams will be able to follow established summer policy through Aug. 24, meaning the workouts each school district has established as safe may continue. Schools should also continue the screening procedures they have established for student-athletes. 

Between the board's Monday and Thursday meetings, the FHSAA received heavy criticism from across the state for not providing enough guidance and forcing individual districts to make complex decisions on their own. Thursday's meeting did not begin with a vote to delay fall sports on the agenda, but discussion quickly centered around the idea once it was brought up by Chris Patricca, a Lee County School Board member. Multiple board members brought up the criticisms of the FHSAA during the meeting as a reason why they were now receptive to making a decision for everyone when they were not on Monday. 

Thursday's meeting focused heavily on recommendations from the Sports Medicine Advisory Committee, which were largely ignored during Monday's meeting. The decision to delay all fall sports is ultimately farther-reaching than what SMAC recommended, which was to delay football and girls volleyball only. 

I’m the sports reporter for Sarasota and East County and a Missouri School of Journalism graduate. I was born and raised in Olney, MD. My biggest inspirations are Wright Thompson and Alex Ovechkin. My strongest belief is that mint chip ice cream is unbeatable.

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