The Florida High School Athletic Association decided in its Board of Directors meeting on Monday to carry forward with its planned 2020-2021 high school athletics season. This falls in line with the policies of the broader state government, which has been among the most resistant to any coronavirus-related shutdowns so far.
Swimming & diving is a fall sport in Florida, where the state has one of the first state championship meets in the country.
The meeting on Monday, a five-hour event via zoom, was prompted by the increasing counts of positive coronavirus cases in the state, which have been rising since early June. Over the last 7 days, Florida is averaging around 11,000 new positive tests per day. The last 3 weeks have also seen a rise in the number of deaths attributed to COVID-19.
The proposal approved by the board will allow teams to begin practicing on July 27 and hold “preseason classics” the week of August 10th. The board voted down 3 proposals that would have pushed the start of practices back until August 10, and also went against the advice of its own Sports Medicine Advisory Committee (SMAC).
The SMAC recommended specifically that football and volleyball, which it views as “high risk sports,” delay the start of practices.
Individual schools will still have the prerogative to delay the start of their teams’ sports season if they desire. Districts will make decisions about coronavirus testing, crowd sizes, and what happens when an athlete tests positive.
On Friday, the board will follow up with another meeting to review the information from the SMAC, and at that time will welcome input from the public.
After hours of negotiation, some flexibility was given to how teams end their seasons. For schools that want to progress through the normal state series, they will have a standard regular season and playoff schedule. Other schools will have the option to skip the state series and continue what would essentially be an extended regular season through the playoff periods. This could be an option in some of the hardest-hit areas of the state that might not begin competition until later in the year.
2020 Florida High School Swimming & Diving Calendar
- First Practice Date – July 27
- Meet Schedules Due – August 3
- Preseason Classic Competitions – August 10-15
- First Regular Season Meet Date – August 17
- Last Regular Season Playing Date for All Classes – October 17 (presuming participation in state series)
Classes 1A & 2A State Series
- Districts – October 26-31, 2020
- Regionals – November 2-7, 2020
- November 13-14, 2020
Classes 3A & 4A State Series
- Districts – October 19-24, 2020
- Regionals – October 26-31, 2020
- State – November 6-7, 2020
As the beginning of school years across the country draw nearer, high school state associations are rolling out decisions about fall sports across the country this week.
- California announced on Monday that it would push all of its sports until after the conclusion of the fall semester.
- The GHSA in Georgia announced via a 12-0 vote that it would postpone football by 2 weeks, while other sports remain on schedule. That means that the football regular season will begin September 4 instead of August 21. After an 8-4 vote against remaining on schedule, Jasper Jewell, a member of the board and the athletic director of Atlantic Public Schools, said he was afraid that his district might cancel fall sports altogether if the season wasn’t delayed. That, and other discussions, wound up pushing unanimous support toward a two-week delay.
- South Carolina and North Carolina both postponed their fall high school sports schedules until September last week. South Carolina also has a very early State Championship meet, scheduled for early October.