SCHSL passes change in sports calendar, keeping football in the fall
On Wednesday morning, the SCHSL executive committee met to discuss what a possible 2020-2021 sports season could look like. As coaches, parents and players hold out hope for a normal season, the high school league discussed possibly flipping fall and spring sports with football moving to spring.
In the end, the SCHSL passed a plan to alter the fall sports calendar and keeping football in the fall.
The SCHSL proposed a plan that only addressed fall sports only. Under their proposal, the first day of fall practice would be pushed back from July 31 to Aug. 17, the first game would be played Sept. 1. In addition, schools would begin region games first then add non-region games to the end of their season if dates are available.
For football, the SCHSL proposal is for a seven-game season with region games as the priority. According to SCHSL commissioner Jerome Singleton, the league and DHEC believe a minimum of four weeks of practice is necessary for football to but adds could be shortened to three weeks.
If teams have weeks available (less than seven-team regions) then they can add additional games. The plan calls for 16-team playoffs with four rounds. The final fall sports date would be November 20, two weeks earlier than past years' final date. The latest possible start date is Oct. 2 and will end at the traditional time on the calendar.
The proposed plan passed by a vote of 14-2.
An additional proposal was brought forth by Lexington County School District One would move football to the spring, starting on Jan. 25 and run through April 2. Under this proposal, the regular season would be six games with four rounds of state playoffs.
The Lexington One proposal, presented by Dr. Greg Little aims to "minimizes exposure and maximizes the opportunity to play" by moving "low-moderate" risk sports to the fall and pushing back "high" risk sports to the winter/spring. Sports were labeled low-high by the National Federation of High School Sports.
Low risk sports: baseball, cross country, golf, softball, swimming and tennis would move to the fall and high risk sports: competition cheer, football, lacrosse and wrestling move to winter/spring. Moderate sports: basketball, soccer and volleyball would play in winter/spring. Under this proposal, there is no requirement for all students to attend school everyday for face-to-face instruction.
The SCHSL voted to reject the plan by a vote of 16-1.
Since March 16, high school sports have been suspended because of the coronavirus outbreak. On May 26, the SCHSL informed member schools that they may begin limited summer activities when their district/school permits academic group activities on campus beginning on June 8.
Since then, schools have been engaging in 'Phase One'. Phase 1 is designed to ease athletes back into conditioning programs. Schools are allowed to have one coach and nine athletes per workout area both inside and outside. In weight rooms, athletes can lift but cannot have a spotter.
However, some school districts within the state, including Greenville County, has suspended Phase 1 workouts because of rising case numbers throughout the summer.
Greenville County Schools submitted a proposal to halt all summer workouts until the approved Aug. 17 start date which was denied by the SCHSL by a 13-1 vote.