Board gives green light to high school sports

NSF Staff Report

The Florida High School Athletic Association recently approved allowing schools to start fall sports last Monday, after a lengthy debate about how to move forward amid health concerns because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The 11-5 vote by the association’s board of directors will allow football games and other contests to start as soon as Sept. 4.

It came after Gov. Ron DeSantis in recent appearances repeatedly called for holding high-school and football athletic events.

With the pandemic hitting certain areas of the state particularly hard, the board approved allowing schools to opt out of what is known as the “state series” by Sept. 18 and create their own regional schedules.

Board member Carlos Ochoa, who proposed the opt-out provision, said it would provide flexibility because many school districts might not be ready to begin by Sept. 18.

Rickards is one of the local high schools that will begin the 2020 football season on Aug. 24.
Photo courtesy Leon County Schools

Coaches around North Florida and the Big Bend have had mixed reaction to the decision to play football this fall.

Corey Fuller, head football coach at East Gadsden High School, told WCTV that he felt the move was too soon.

“We’re not even making real money off football games in the state of Florida like they do in South Georgia and Texas and Alabama, but you’re telling people it’s okay when the doctor that they hired gives out their recommendation and they totally ignored that,” Fuller told WCTV. “Football can’t be this serious, man.”

Board member Susan Tortora supported moving forward with fall sports, saying people have been “crying out” for a start date. But board member Chris Patricca expressed concern that the plan would be unfair to some counties that might not be able to start sports because of the pandemic. 

“It’s all about equity and fairness,” she said.