GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Sports look a lot different this year because of COVID-19, some even canceled, but Friday the Florida High School Athletic Association decided that won’t be the case for Florida students.
They decided to stick with August 24th as the start date for fall start date. That’s the date they agreed to postpone the season to back in July.
Parents who started a change.org campaign for the August 24th start date showed up to the FHSAA meeting, too.
The petition has 40,000 plus signatures. Even still, it wasn’t an easy decision. The Board of Directors spent an hour and a half talking about it before the vote. Lee County School Board Member Chris Patricca pointing out schools in high COVID areas that might not be able to play.
“We’re leaving Broward out. If we’re leaving the big counties out, it’s not — it doesn’t feel fair,” she said.
The board also passed an amendment allowing schools to start later pending COVID numbers in their county.
Richie Rode, head football coach at Cypress Lake High School says he looks forward to this unique season.
“Hopefully, we can move forward with this season with some positivity,” he said. “And it could really lead to at least if nothing more than a small reprieve from the things that are going on around us in the world today.”
He’s not losing sight of the very real threat of COVID-19, but preparing himself to prepare his students.
“If we don’t play, the kids can still get it,” he said. “So, it’s really just about educating them on their home life, their school. And the football part is just another part where we’ve got to continue to be safe.”
FHSAA’s decision comes as the Atlantic Sun or ASUN conference decided to postpone all fall sports, which affects Florida Gulf Coast University’s volleyball, cross country, and soccer teams.
Lee Schools sent the following statement to FOX 4:
Our high school athletic directors will meet on Monday to begin developing a plan for the start of fall sports.