The Georgia High School Association voted Monday to play fall sports with a two-week delay for the start of football season.
GHSA’s board of trustees voted 12-0 on Monday to postpone the football season until Sept. 4, but cancel no games. Teams will play their regular-season 10-game schedule with five-game playoff systems to crown state champions in all eight classifications.
State championship games are expected to take place after the Christmas break.
An initial proposal to keep the existing schedule with the season starting Aug. 21 failed by an 8-4 vote.
The news brought mixed emotions from county football coaches.
“I feel good for the kids involved because it gives our seniors an opportunity to play and get some film for recruiting,” Douglas County High coach Johnny White said. “I’m still nervous right now. I think it was the right call. I’m hoping and praying that the season will take place. I’m excited.”
New Manchester coach Cedric Jackson said it has been a challenge getting things going under current GHSA restrictions.
“I feel they (GHSA) is in a tough spot,” Jackson said. “They are getting pressure from coaches, parents and kids that want to play. I’m happy we are getting to play, but I’m not so sure we need to play.”
This past week, the GHSA allowed teams to use helmets during workouts but players were still restricted from the locker room. Part of that decision requires headgear to be disinfected before and after use.
Jackson decided not to issue helmets this week to his players.
“I know the rules will change,” he said. “I didn’t want to put the kids in helmets with no locker room access.”
Monday is the first official day that teams can start practice.
GHSA executive director Robin Hines met with his sports-medicine advisory committee Wednesday, according to the AJC, and is expected to announce more easing of restrictions for voluntary summer conditioning which wraps up today.
Volleyball, and other fall sports, including cross country, fast-pitch softball and cheerleading remain on schedule.
Coaches said the two-week delay is needed because teams were not allowed to have spring practice and offseason conditioning didn’t start in the county until June 15.
According to the GHSA, the move to delay the season two weeks was not just in response to the pandemic, but so teams would have more time to prepare after missing time from conditioning.
“I think this is definitely going to help in terms of getting in shape and the heat of summer,” Chapel Hill coach Justin DeShon said.