The much anticipated start of the Tennessee high school football season is this week and there are set to be as many as 120 games played during Week 1.
As we all know, Friday night lights will look A LOT different from years past. Spectators will be expected to wear masks and have their temperatures checked at the gates. Those that are or have recently experienced Coronavirus symptoms will be asked to not enter the stadium.
I believe that it is important that we as spectators and parents do our part in making sure that this football season can continue, and that we do everything we can do ensure that surrounding areas like Georgia and North Carolina are also able to have their seasons.
So this weeks “Scoring Points” will not necessarily be an opinionated piece, yet one where you can learn the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association guidelines and recommendations for returning to play. I believe that this will give even those of you who are not in Tennessee a look into what to expect when your respected state returns to play.
- All fans must wear facial coverings at all times while onsite except children under age 2. And all fans must maintain a social distance of six feet, or the equivalent of two empty seats between themselves and other fans from anyone other than those living in the same household.
- It is the host school’s discretion to honor passes, or offer any public ticket sales at all, because of capacity restrictions.
- At contests all coaches, players, team personnel, officials, administrators, and fans must have their temperatures checked before entering the facility.
- At contests in localities where fan attendance is permitted, member schools are encouraged to limit fan attendance to a number that will allow adequate social distancing (e.g., 1/4 to 1/3 of typical seating capacity, depending on the characteristics of the particular venue) and should mark/designate bleachers or seats in order to promote social distancing among spectators.
- The temperature check and questionnaire requirements as well as the social distancing requirement, shall also apply to members of a school band or pep band, cheerleaders, or other similar student groups attending a contest in a supporting role.
- Concession stands are discouraged.
My hope is that all who will be attending these upcoming Tennessee high school football games will follow the new mandates and keep it safe and keep the season rolling for these kids sake.
The NCHSAA Board of Directors met last night via zoom and were able to come up with an amended calendar for the 2020-2021 season.
The decision to amend the 2020-2021 sports calendar was not one that was taken lightly, as the NCHSAA was guided by the NFHS and others in order to make a properly informed decision.
The first practice date for football has been pushed back all the way to February 8th, with the first game coming February 26th. Another big change to the football season is that all NCHSAA teams will only play 7 games this season, with the final contest date set for April 9th.
The first practice date for Basketball will be December 7th, and the first game will be January 4th. Basketball will only play 14 games this season.
Now that we have an updated schedule and something to look at and plan around, is how are these small schools going to work around this new schedule with everything being right on top of one another? Do not get me wrong, I think that its great that we are going to be playing every sport (with the exception of indoor track) but I think this is really something we need to look at and prepare for.
We are going to end up having some overlap in one way or another when it comes to these shortened seasons, but I do think that the NCHSAA did the best that they could. However, with this overlap, we need to think about the multi-sport, small school athletes who are playing every sport that they can. This year, if a female student-athlete plays volleyball and then wants to play basketball, she will find that very hard to do as Volleyball season runs from November 4th into January 8th, and basketball overlaps that running from December 7th, through February 19th.
I do not think that this is going to be a major problem, but I do think that it is important to keep these multi-sport kids in mind when we get back in the swing of things, as they might be spread a little thin.
The Georgia High School Association held a private meeting earlier today to discuss the upcoming fall football season start dates and schedules. The meeting was not broadcast publicly, but according to sources the competition date for football will be pushed back for two weeks, but the football conditioning and all other sports starting dates are unchanged.
The first football games will be held on labor day weekend, with scrimmages on August 21 and 28.
There will be a full regular season and a full playoff schedule as of right now.
Practice will begin next Monday, with pads starting August 1.
North Carolina has some of the same things, pushing back their start date 2 weeks to September 1, to allow players and coaches a chance to get a grip on things.
Personally, I think that this postponement of the season is probably going to end up being a good thing. With pro sports starting back up and everything, it will give the high schools something they can look at and model after, as long as those professional sports end up going over well.
I think that the postponement was inevitable, and I am just glad that they are planning on playing at this point in time. A year without sports would be detrimental to the community in-itself, much less the athletes that would be missing out on playing.
Luckily, all signs are pointing toward the fact that both Georgia and North Carolina will have some sort of fall sports season. If you would’ve asked me a month ago if I thought that we would be in a position to play at all I would have told you heck no, But, at this point, I’m at about an 80% certainty that will we see games played in the coming months.
Stay tuned to the FYN Sports page to find out the latest updates on the GHSA, NCHSAA, and TSSAA upcoming fall seasons.
Check out more of Jake West’s Scoring Points by reading last week’s article: Athletics in NCHSAA hands: Good or bad?. Also remember, in sports, points are scored by both sides, so send in your opinions on sports to email@example.com and see them in our next Sunday Edition.
North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper held a press conference earlier today, where he announced that school systems will be operating on Plan B which is a split, virtual and in-person, system this fall. School districts are also allowed to operate under plan C, which is strictly virtual online learning. Regarding sports, he announced that he is leaving the decision about whether or not to have upcoming athletics seasons to the North Carolina High School Athletic Association (NCHSAA).
Cooper stated, “The NCHSAA will be making the decisions about high school sports and what they’re going to engage in.” He went on to say, “I love fall sports and enjoyed playing them in high school. I know a lot of our student-athletes want to get back into playing sports. The NCHSAA will be consulting with public health experts, including our staff here at the Department of Health and Human Services. It’s my understanding that they will be making specific decisions a little bit later on in the process.”
I’ve been thinking about this decision since I listened to Governor Cooper’s press conference on Tuesday morning, trying to weigh the good and the bad.
In my honest opinion, I think that since Cooper left it up to the NCHSAA to decide, they, in turn, will leave it up to school districts to decide whether they want to play or not. I think that the NCHSAA will give the go-ahead initially, but a lot of things will have to fall into place for sports to be played at their full potential. All in all, I do not think that it was necessarily a bad thing for this decision to be left up to Que Tucker and the NCHSAA board, but it does now present them with even more unanswered questions since the school systems will be operating at basically a fifty percent capacity.
It feels like, with every press conference and news release we get, more questions are left at the end than there were before. Hopefully, when the NCHSAA meets in two weeks we can get a plan of attack and know what to expect going forward.
Check out more of Jake West’s Scoring Points by reading last week’s article: New GHSA shot clock rule good for the game. Also remember, in sports, points are scored by both sides, so send in your opinions on sports to firstname.lastname@example.org and see them in our next Sunday Edition.
On June 23, the Georgia High School Association voted to implement the use of a shot clock in their high school basketball games over the next three years. According to the GHSA, teams across the state of Georgia will be able to have a soft transition into the new shot clock era.
For the upcoming school year (2020-21), the shot clock will only be used in approved Christmas and thanksgiving tournaments and showcase games but it will not factor into the region or postseason contests.
The shot clock will be required for region games starting in the 2021-22 season. It will not be required for every varsity game (including postseason contests) until the 2022-23 season.
This will be a major change to the game, especially for the coaches in Georgia, who have never had to worry about a shot clock violation before. The rule in itself will not be hard to learn, but coaches will inevitably change their coaching styles.
College coaches really got the ball rolling on this idea and presented it to the GHSA with the idea that it would help student-athletes be more prepared for the college level style of play.
Personally, I think that this is exactly what the new rule will do. Kids will head to college with a more realistic vision and experience of how the game will be played at the next level. There will not be any “holding the ball” and trying to bleed the clock out anymore, the kids will be forced into running an offense the entire game, which is exactly what is expected of them at the next level. I think that this will be a very enjoyable transition for us to watch as spectators, as we can see the wheels start rolling in the heads of our student-athletes as they really start to figure out a new part of the game of basketball.
Not only will the kids have to adjust, but local coaches will be under the gun too. Teaching a new style of basketball will be difficult, but it will also be fun to watch and will really separate the hardworking and easily coachable talent from the others.
Check out more of Jake West’s Scoring Points by reading last week’s article: Minor League Baseball Cancelled. Also remember, in sports, points are scored by both sides, so send in your opinions on sports to email@example.com and see them in our next Sunday Edition.
As many of you may have already seen or heard, the upcoming Minor League Baseball season has been canceled. This decision is detrimental to the livelihood of the thousands of players that are in the MiLB system. With the Pro Baseball Agreement between Major and Minor League Baseball set to expire this year, MLB has already targeted some teams to place on the chopping block, in order to follow the NBA’s lead and make the developmental process easier and more concrete.
Hopefully for our community and the surrounding areas sake, no local area teams such as the Asheville Tourists or the Chattanooga Lookouts will be cut in the coming year. Not only are the rostered players effected, but the people who depend on the seasonal jobs that these clubs provide for them are monumentally impacted. Also, one thing that I can not seem to get off of my mind are the way that younger players in high school are going to be impacted. Without the Minor League Baseball system around, they may opt for heading to a college strictly for academics sake, putting their dreams of playing collegiate baseball and advancing to the next level on the back burner.
I also am saddened to think about the impact that this is going to have on the return of our local high school sports in the area. Cancelling a whole season of profitable baseball does not bode well for the way that the people in power’s minds are operating. I realize that the MiLB is a huge system with a ton of players and staffers and that high school sports are minuscule in comparison, I just hope that this does not set a precedent for things to come.
With the way that things are going in the GHSA and NCHSAA, I do not think that we have too much to worry about, but it is something to think about!
Check out more of Jake West’s Scoring Points by reading last week’s article: COVID causes more high school sports setbacks. Also remember, in sports, points are scored by both sides, so send in your opinions on sports to firstname.lastname@example.org and see them in our next Sunday Edition.
If you have been keeping up with the regular “Scoring Points” Sunday Edition articles, you have probably seen where I have talked about how Iowa has resumed their summer baseball and softball seasons recently. As I am sure most had thought, they have seen some recent sports setbacks in their return. More than a handful of teams have already had to self quarantine after players had tested positive for COVID-19 during the first few weeks of the season.
Being that Iowa was the first state in the country to allow high school sports to resume and start playing games again, there is a lot riding on their seasons and how things work out. They are a metaphorical “lab rat” if you will, for the rest of the country to see if it is possible for even low contact sports such as baseball and softball to return.
Iowa has taken their sports setbacks in stride in my opinion, implementing a quarantine period for all players and coaches who were participants in the game where it was later discovered a student tested positive. Opponents on both the teams schedules were notified and can either choose to play the remaining games against the team or withdraw from those games. Giving the other schools this option allows them to make their own decision and keeps it from becoming a state-wide decision. After the quarantine period, the players and coaches from both infected teams will be monitored for symptoms and assuming all things come back in the clear, they will be able to resume play.
I cannot say that i’m surprised to see that Iowa has seen some positive cases from players in the league as that is something that they cannot control. However, I am surprised at the way that they are handling things over there. They are putting the safety of the kids first in monitoring all of them closely, yet they have yet to shut everything down just because of a few asymptomatic positive tests. I think that this is actually a good thing for a surrounding area official to study and see that though it may not be easy to return, it sure is possible.
Check out more of Jake West’s Scoring Points by reading last week’s article: Will Youth Sports Make it Through Corona Shutdown?. Also remember, in sports, points are scored by both sides, so send in your opinions on sports to email@example.com and see them in our next Sunday Edition.
Youth sports are beginning to ramp back up all across the country. In Texas and Florida, all youth sports have resumed their regular programming. In Iowa, baseball and softball have resumed all the way up to the high school level. Even youth football leagues in Indiana have returned for on the field practices.
Seeing these other states getting back to normal is a great sight, but nowhere near what we are used to seeing around the US at this time of year. The Smoky Mountain Youth Football League in the Murphy area has already cancelled their upcoming season. With youth sports participation dropping already, one can only think that it will plummet in the following years after kids are forced to sit out this year. I understand that the cancellation was for the safety of the kids but it is hard for me to believe that there was not a way around completely cancelling the entire season. I know that most of the parents around the community will take initiative and find ways to keep their children active and involved, but I feel for the kids who do not have any structure in their lives until it comes to organized sports. My hope is that the upcoming youth league baseball, softball, and soccer seasons will not be cancelled so at least those kids will get to play.
I know it may not seem like a big deal at this exact point in time, for these kids to miss just one season, but the financial fallout will impact the leagues that cancel for years to come. I also think that this could lead to kids moving around and playing in different leagues and perhaps never returning, ultimately hurting not only the youth league as a whole but the JV and Varsity teams that they would have eventually played on.
I guess what I am saying is, just let the kids play.
Check out more of Jake West’s Scoring Points by reading last week’s article: Georgia back at practice with restrictions. Also remember, in sports, points are scored by both sides, so send in your opinions on sports to firstname.lastname@example.org and see them in our next Sunday Edition.
Georgia High School’s officially were able to return to workouts on June 8th. The GHSA held a meeting last week and voted to push back the original start date they had agreed upon, moving things a week back from the 1st to the 8th. The meeting was held electronically and was broadcast on the NFHS network.
“These kids have already been away from their fellow students for two-and-a-half months. They’ve already missed proms and honors nights. They’re ready to get back, and that’s been made clear to me from the hundreds of emails I’ve gotten from parents saying, ‘Please let our kids get going.’ It is time to get going” Executive Director Robin Hines said during the meeting.
The kids are allowed at conditioning workouts only, with strict guidelines put into place by the GHSA.
A few of the main recommendations and restrictions include:
- Member schools should prepare an Infectious Disease Prevention Plan prior to staff and athletes returning to conditioning.
- Groups should be the same individuals (including coaches) for each session to limit risk of exposure. Students or coaches CANNOT change groups for the duration of this guidance.
- There is no competition allowed between schools.
- Social distancing should be adhered to always and masks/face covering are recommended for the weight room.
- No use of locker rooms or shower facilities. Students should report to the facility dressed to condition and shower at home.
- Each student should have their own personal water bottle. No use of water fountains.
- It is recommended that staff and athletes are screened prior to each workout.
Honestly, in my opinion, these restrictions don’t seem like anything too extreme. After looking at the guidelines the NFHS originally released and then looking at these you can tell that the GHSA scaled some things back so it wouldn’t be so harsh on the kids and staff. On any account it will be nice to drive by the field and see some kids running around out there again. We are leaps and bounds ahead of where we originally though we would be at this point. All of this is moving us into the direction where I am getting more confident in the fact that we will see fans in the stands come Friday night football this fall.
Check out more of Jake West’s Scoring Points by reading last week’s article: My take on CCS consolidation. Also remember, in sports, points are scored by both sides, so send in your opinions on sports to email@example.com and see them in our next Sunday Edition.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced Thursday may 28th that fans will be allowed at outdoor sporting events in a limited capacity. Starting on Friday, all counties will be able to host in-person spectators for outdoor sports in venues as long as visitors are capped at 25% capacity. The professional sports leagues will have to adhere to Texas department of state services rules and regulations and also apply and receive approval from the department.
I realize that we’re talking about Texas here and that Texas is over 1,000 miles away from our North Georgia area, however I think that this is a great sign for things to come here in our area. At the beginning of the month we were thinking that sports were not even a thought on the horizon and yet here we are at the end of the month with area schools being able to return to workouts and practice. Texas and a few other states have sort of become the model for how North Carolina and Georgia are returning to do things, except at a much quicker pace.
The one major thing that is sad about the fans return is that it only addresses professional sports and has no mention of college or high school. Personally though, I know that pretty much all of us around here have been missing out on heading to SunTrust park and being able to sit and watch a Braves game.
Another great piece of news to come out of Texas is that the Governor has already said that they are planning to have college football start on time and he also said on Friday in an interview with KXAN-TV in Austin, “If you want a prediction, my prediction is yes, we are gonna have college football beginning as scheduled … with at least some level of fans in stands.”
This is a great piece of news to come out of Texas and hopefully North Carolina and Georgia are close behind and will follow suit.
Check out more of Jake West’s Scoring Points by reading last week’s article: Scoring Points: GHSA Gives OK For Sports To Resume. Also, remember, in sports, points are scored by both sides, so send in your opinions on sports to firstname.lastname@example.org and see them in our next Sunday Edition.
The Georgia High School Association plans to reopen high school sports activities beginning June 8th, after Robin Hines (director of the GHSA) and his board of trustees came to the unanimous decision on Thursday afternoon.
Much like what I wrote about last week when North Carolina came to their decision to reopen, Georgia will do so with many restrictions. Restricted voluntary workouts under their coaches’ direction, that will fall under the guidelines of the current state order.
Hines said Thursday, “It’s time for us to get back to a sense of normalcy, These kids have already been away from their fellow students for two-and-a-half months. They’ve already missed proms and honors nights. They’re ready to get back, and that’s been made clear to me from the hundreds of emails I’ve gotten from parents saying, ‘Please let our kids get going.’ It is time to get going.’’
Currently the workouts are for conditioning only, which means no bats or balls or equipment will be shared at all. On the bright side at least all the kids will be able to get back together and see some normalcy in their life. A little bit ridiculous that football players can’t even throw a football around if you ask me, but I understand it’s for everyone’s safety and that the board has the best interest of the students in mind.
Another shining light in all this is that Georgia isn’t the only state to start pushing towards reopening school sports. States such as North Carolina, Texas and Iowa are also looking forward to starting back up. Iowa is even set to begin softball and baseball games toward the end of the month of June. Things seem to be looking pretty good on the horizon, and hopefully everyone will be safe and as diligent as possible so we can continue in the right direction.
Check out more of Jake West’s Scoring Points by reading last week’s article: NC sports return on the horizon. Also, remember, in sports, points are scored by both sides, so send in your opinions on sports to email@example.com and see them in our next Sunday Edition.
Ask and you shall receive! The North Carolina High School Athletic Association sent out an email on Tuesday to over 400 member schools that declared its ban on sports related activities would end on June 1st. What a breath of fresh air to have a statement come out with actual substance.
The one thing that will hold schools back from resuming activities such as weightlifting and off-season workouts will be Governor Coopers mandated stay at home order. The commissioner of the NC high school athletic association Que Tucker said that if the stay at home order is not lifted by the June 1st date theyve set to resume activities, then they will have to also push that date back to coincide with the stay at home order until it is also lifted.
As of May 8th, Gov. Roy Cooper has allowed North Carolina to move into Phase 1 of a reopening plan which allows 50% capacity in retail stores and for child-care centers to open. It also calls for a 10-person limit on gatherings.
Later this month phase two is set to go into motion, which would likely increase the number of people allowed at gatherings and potentially open the door for student-athletes to return to campus.
I know we’re all watching the news and seeing that pro sports are likely to return without any fans and one would think that something like that would also be set into motion in the high school realm of sports, be it giving tickets to student athletes to give to their families and only allowing a certain number of people inside the gate, but that’s a different bowl of soup. I believe that we should cross that bridge when we get there, and in this moment be happy that there are even TALKS of a return to sports activities as soon as June 1st!
The NCHSAA held a board of directors meeting on Wednesday, April 29. During that meeting, many things were discussed about the upcoming fall sports season and what to do about the state championship game cancelations of the last fall season. The board of directors announced at the conclusion of the meeting that they would be crowning co-champions for qualifying teams, which means the Murphy Lady Bulldogs are your 2020 State Champions.
The Bulldogs sent Mitchell home in the 1A Western Regional Championship game and were expected to play East champion Weldon in March in the State Championship game before it was cancelled due to Covid-19. This is Murphys 3rd state title in women’s basketball but the first time in school history that they’ve gone undefeated in the sport. The team will be receiving championship rings.
Other things discussed in the meeting that seemed pertinent to me:
Approved an adjusted contact definition and new contact limitations football which was developed in partnership between the NC Football Coaches Association and the NCHSAA Sports Medicine Advisory Committee.
Approved the distribution of grant funds in excess of $120,000 to member schools requesting and awarded through the inaugural NCHSAA Grant Program.
Approved adjustments to the soccer playoff calendar (now a Monday, Thursday format for early rounds) and an adjustment to allow regular-season contests to end as a tie in men’s and women’s soccer following two ten-minute overtime periods.
The Board also said it would not speculate on a return date for student-athletes to start practice and workouts for the upcoming year. We did not necessarily get the answers we were hoping for in terms of what to expect for the upcoming year, but at least the girls and coaches of the Murphy basketball team can now officially call themselves state champions. I’m sure they’d all much rather play the game and decide a true champion, but at least they no longer have to speculate whether or not they will be receiving rings and they know for a fact they are going in the record books as 2020 state champions, something we can all be proud of.
Check out more of Jake West’s Scoring Points by reading last week’s article: Gentry says ‘one more time’. Also, remember, in sports, points are scored by both sides, so send in your opinions on sports to firstname.lastname@example.org and see them in our next Sunday Edition.
High School Hall Of Fame Coach, David Gentry of the Murphy Bulldogs made his decision to return for another season this past week.
Gentry told another reporter David Thompson, “My plan is to be on the sideline again as long as there is a season. I wouldn’t do it if I wasn’t excited about it. I just hope we get to have a season.” Gentry said that he was optimistic that there would be a season, but he still had his concerns about the unknown.
I would venture to guess that the “unknown” played into his decision making quite a bit. With his competitive nature and passion for the football program at Murphy, there is no way in my mind that Gentry would hand the keys over to a rookie in a time such as this. Competitively speaking, David Gentry has won 8 titles over 36 seasons with the Bulldogs and holds the North Carolina state record for wins with 416, breaking the previous record in a contest against Swain County just this past year.
Murphy was unable to defend their title last year falling to eventual state champion Robbinsville in the third round. Another thing that I could guess played into Coach making his decision to stay, is the fact that Robbinsville head coach Dee Walsh has better him 6 times in the last 6 years. I can’t say that sits well with Gentry, and I would look out for a revenge tour in the coming season being that the last taste of football he has in his mouth is a loss to a bitter rival.
The Bulldogs kick off the 2020 season against Pisgah on August 21st and Franklin on the 28th, two games against bigger schools that should help them with playoff seeding down the road if they can come out with a win.
Check out more of Jake West’s Scoring Points by reading last week’s article: Sports in the US and a need vs want. Also, remember, in sports, points are scored by both sides, so send in your opinions on sports to email@example.com and see them in our next Sunday Edition.
Being that we are without sports right now in any capacity, every fan around the world seems to be speculating when they will return. There has been a lot of talk about the return of sports to a nation yearning for some hint of normalcy amid the coronavirus pandemic. Major League Baseball has been giving us a glimmer of hope with their talk about quarantining all of the teams, players, coaches and staff in a virus-free area and holding games in empty ballparks. The UFC has also discussed ways that they could carry on with their operations, scheduling bouts on tribal land in Central California, and Dana White has also reported that he has purchased a private island to have fights on. Even President Donald Trump has been longing for sports just like us, saying “I want fans back in the arenas.”
However as much as the common man may be longing for a return of sports, experts are saying that it may not be safe even with no spectators. Many public health experts fear it would be a risky proposition if the outbreak persists or recedes during the summer and reemerges in the fall.
One good sign for the return of sports however is the Korean Baseball Organization and their planned opening day next month. In the KBO as it stands, players are being constantly checked for symptoms and fevers, stadiums remain shuttered and rumors are that even one case of the virus in the system could halt the KBO’s return. It is easier for the KBO to return to day to day baseball operations than it is for the United States however, because of the widespread testing the Korea has access to that we do not.
Even as weird as it would look and feel, for Major League teams to be playing in empty stadiums and living in isolated hotels, I believe that it would do our country a whole lot of good to see baseball being played again. In a time like this, it is easy for people to lose hope. People are losing jobs left and right and others are unable to see their family members in fear of infecting them or becoming infected. Seeing this little sliver of normality return could really ease some peoples minds at this point, as it seems there is no complete return to normalcy in sight at the moment. I believe that we need to inch back toward reality. I understand how hard it would be for the MLB to implement their plan, but God help I pray they do. Our country needs a little joy right now. And what better way to bring joy to the masses than broadcasting professional baseball to millions of living rooms across the US filled with quarantined families.
Check out more of Jake West’s Scoring Points by reading last week’s article: Spring Sports spent getting back to “normal.” And remember, in sports, points are scored by both sides, so send in your opinions on sports to firstname.lastname@example.org and see them in our next Sunday Edition.
For the second time in the school’s history we have a member on the all state team! Congratulations Owen Moss! It’s a well-deserved honor. I’m proud of all of our guys and girls! I hate that we were cut short this season, but we’re going to be ready when this thing goes live with GHSA in 2021!!!!