After a week of waiting, Wednesday’s TSSAA Board of Control meeting didn’t give coaches or fans the news they were hoping for. In fact, there wasn’t much news at all.
The Board was expected to vote on contingency plans for the upcoming high school football season, but instead delayed the vote in order to continue discussions with Gov. Bill Lee’s office.
The four options on the table were presented at the Board’s July 1 meeting.
Each included a different number of scheduled regular season games and playoff formats that would allow the season to be played following Lee’s prohibition of contact sports through Aug. 29.
Sweetwater head coach Mike Martin favored the option that included an eight-game regular season and a 16-team playoff, while Tellico Plains head coach Jon Rechtorovic preferred any option that featured a state championship game.
But the answer to which option will ultimately be chosen will have to wait. The future of the girls soccer season is up in the air as well, as it too qualifies as a contact sport.
“The Governor’s legal counsel stated that they need time to observe the data and work with us,” TSSAA Executive Director Bernard Childress said. “There will come a time when we will have to make a decision on a contingency plan, but right now it is our opinion that we need to give their legal team the opportunity to see if it is needed in girls’ soccer and football.”
Childress stressed the importance of wearing a mask, maintaining social distancing and keeping hands washed for anyone who hopes to see sports played this fall.
More discussions could lead to Lee’s office designating prep sports the same as college and professional athletics, which are considered able to accommodate for COVID-19. Such a move would satisfy the TSSAA, as it would allow contact sports to be played as scheduled.