Football is all the way back.
We have had several weeks of some Georgia High School Association teams playing, but this week we had a full slate, including Rabun Gap playing against a private North Carolina school in Christ School out of Asheville.
We also FINALLY got to see a full slate of college football games on Saturday, with the SEC being back to play. The BIG10 and the PAC12 are now set to begin their seasons too, so now we have no major power five conference’s sitting out for the season.
This is something that I never thought we would even come close to seeing in 2020, but boy am I glad we are seeing it. We have seen some bumps in the road at the high school and college level. Fannin and Union County have both been effected by COVID and had to cancel games. Appalachian State, my alama mater, was effected this past Saturday and had 13 players and coaches out due to contact tracing.
The Nation Football League is also in full swing now, as they are heading into their third week of games and so far they have not had any officials, players, or coaches and staff test positive.
As Major League Baseball’s season is coming to an end, we can look back at theirs and see that while some teams missed some games and there were some things that they had to deal with, it is possible for full long seasons to be played.
I did not really have a certain point in mind when I started writing this article, and I do not really have a point to make now. I think I just wanted to rejoice and say that football is all the way back. It feels like things are finally crawling back to normal.
Here in our Fetch Your News coverage area, we’ve already seen a few teams have to cancel games due to covid-19 stipulations. Copper Basin had their game cancelled last week and Fannin and Gilmer had to cancel their game also.
A question that everyone asks when you talk about cancelled games is if they will be making that game up. So far, the answer has been no.
When discussing these cancellations with some of my friends, I started to wonder what would happen if a local area team had covid complications during the postseason. After doing some research and thanks to a press release from the Georgia High School Association last week, we finally have the answers.
Once the playoffs begin, canceled games will be season-ending to teams that can’t play, Georgia High School Association executive director Robin Hines said Thursday. Hines said that they would have no choice but to advance the team that could play and passed all their protocols.
“We’d have to press on at that time; that’s when a forfeit would kick in,” Hines said. “The team they’re supposed to play would pick up the win and move on.”
In the regular season when games have been cancelled because of the covid protocols, depending on if it is a region or conference game, it would either go down as a forfeit or a no contest. Most of the time the teams agree upon a no contest if it is out of their region.
It really sucks to think that your favorite high school football team could be days away from playing in their first regional championship game, and have to forfeit because someone around the team or on the team had a positive cocid result or did not pass the covid protocols. That’s just the world we are living in now I guess.
Fannin County High School has had one heck of a week.
They were originally scheduled to play the Gilmer County Bobcats this past week on September eleventh. That is until COVID-19 came into play.
Due to complications with COVID-19, the Fannin County High School Rebels were forced to cancel their game.
Across the state line in Tennessee, things went as planned for the Copper Basin Cougars. Copper Basin lined up against the Tellico Plains Bears in a matchup of two undefeated teams.
Coming into the game, Tellico had not allowed one single point all year long, but that woud change quickly as they found themselves looking up at a scoreboard at the end of the game that said: Basin: 56 Tellico: 14.
Copper Basin fans were rejoicing as they kept their undefeated season alive. However, Friday nights win was not the only reason they were rejoicing, as they got the news just before kickoff against Tellico that they had scheduled a game on October 23rd against Fannin County at home in Tennessee.
This is the first scheduled game for Fannin and Copper Basin since I was born in 1997. These two schools are not arch nemesis to say the least. Players from Basin and Fannin usually attend each others games when one of the two has a bye week, but I can bet that you can throw all of the friendliness out the window come October 23rd. I would venture to guess that more people will show up than the Copper Basin stadium can hold, and that the Copper Basin High School administration will have to come up with a way to add more bleachers and seating area into the stadium.
This new addition to the teams schedules will be very beneficial to both teams. It will give Fannin County the opportunity to make up for their lost game against Gilmer County, and it will give the Copper Basin Cougars a chance to really see what they are made of when playing a highly ranked team from the state of Georgia.
The Georgia High School Association kicked off their football season this past week, with teams around the area playing face to face on Friday night.
There were some health precautions and restrictions put in place to ensure a safe outing such as these listed below from Union County High School:
- There will be designated seating areas for students and the band. This will be approximately half of the stadium which will reduce spectator seating capacity.
- Social distancing and mask wearing is encouraged. Signs will be posted and announcements will be made periodically throughout the contest to encourage safe health practices.
- We are working to keep both of our communities safe from the threat of COVID-19. Spectators are encouraged to self screen before arrival to the event. If you have a fever over 100.0 or have any symptoms we ask that you please stay home.
Some schools also had limits on total capacity and ticket sales while others did not.
My point is that all of this went on without a hitch. There were no problems that came to light from the Fannin vs Union game that I attended, although it was weird to see all the plexiglass around the ticket booths and such. Even from looking on twitter and seeing what my other colleagues and friends have had to say, it seems like people every where were simply compliant with the rules set forth by the teams and really wanted to help in any way that they could.
I saw masks being worn by different people and I saw people social distancing without masks. All in all I think they this proves that as adults we can start getting back to normal, as long as we have the same kind of respect for each other as southerners do for high school football.
The Georgia High School Association has released “strongly recommended” game-day operation guidelines in order for the high school football season to proceed as normal when it opens for good on September Fourth. These game-day guidelines and recommendations are given to spectators and parents in order to ensure that the football season will be able to continue and so that these student athletes are able to play a whole season.
The guidelines include but are not limited to: Spectators are recommended to have their temperature assessed prior to entering the competition venue and should be denied entry if higher than 100.4 degrees. It is highly recommended that spectators always wear a facemask/covering if possible. Spectators should be restricted from direct competition areas and from visiting with student athletes and personnel before, during and after events. You can also probably expect a change in concessions, if your school is even offering concessions.
I know that this is not what a lot of us wanted to hear at all. If you are anything like me then you absolutely hate wearing a mask. And to be honest I do not really understand why I should wear a mask when I am outside watching a football game anyway.
But guess what?
Im going to do it.
Not for me, not for you, not for the governor or anyone else. I am going to do it for the kids. They can give me whatever stupid guideline they want and I am still going to follow it to help ensure that these kids are able to play a full season. I would hate to look back and know that just because I refused to follow guidelines, I was one of the reasons that a senior student-athlete didn’t get to play in his final home game.
I encourage all of our readers to put their pride aside for the sake of the kids and just follow the guidelines. All any of us want is for football to be back anyway, so now that its finally back lets keep it that way.
Luckily, for all of us die hard fans, professional sports are starting to return in some shape or form. Yet, with this return has come the emergence of fake fans and artificial crowd noise.
What I mean by this if you have not been able to watch any games since the restart of the major sports seasons is that, MLB teams are pumping in fake crowd noise through their speakers and into the empty stadium. In some of those stadiums there are cardboard cutouts placed in the seats behind home plate and such of real fans of the team, to combat the effect of seeing an empty stadium on TV.
In the NBA, teams are pumping in fake crowd noise and banter just as the MLB. However, they are using artificial fans through the use of the video board and AI technology to show live video of fans from home and cool things like that.
Personally, I think that the fake fans and artificial crowd noise is working out really well for some teams and really bad for others.
For instance, the cardboard cutouts are kind of a cool thing to see and, if you want one for yourself, you can go online and apply and upload a picture of yourself and pay to see yourself as a cardboard cutout on TV.
The fake crowd noise actually works pretty well for all teams, just because it helps keep any dullness from coming up on the broadcast. It is definitely a little weird because you can for sure tell that it is fake noise coming through the speakers, but I have watched games with and without it and I can tell you that you definitely want to watch a game with fake crowd noise over one with no noise.
Where it gets really weird for me is the way the NBA digitally puts fans in seats. When I first saw it, it reminded me of an old NBA2K video game made in the 1990s where everything was pixelated and you could not make out any faces. I guess at the end of the day it’s better than looking at an empty stadium, but in my opinion the NBA could take a few notes from the MLB.
Check out more of Jake West’s Scoring Points by reading last week’s article: With football pushed back, what happens to basketball?. 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 of now, according to the Georgia High School Association and the North Carolina High School Athletic Association, basketball and all other fall sports besides football are set to begin at their originally planned times.
The North Carolina and Georgia High School football seasons were both pushed back two weeks after both organizations decided it would be best to give the players and coaches more time to prepare for the upcoming season, since there will be new rules and regulations that the novel Coronavirus has caused. Both organizations have decided not to move any other start dates for other fall sports, which could cause some problems for local area small schools.
I remember going to school in North Carolina, if the football team went deep into the playoffs, then those kids on the football team had to miss out on the opening part of the basketball season. We were luck to field enough players to have a basketball team while football was still going on, seeing as how at small schools most athletes play more than one sport and there are not a lot of kids to choose from.
Now, with football being pushed back 2 weeks, it is not going to matter if your schools football team makes it deep into the playoffs or not, odds are your basketball players that are playing football are going to miss out on a good chunk of the start of basketball season.
I would assume that the NCHSAA and the GHSA will both fix this scheduling conflict eventually, it is just a problem that I wanted to bring to light. With small schools like Andrews and Hayesville, most of your best basketball players are going to be playing football and in turn will miss out on the beginning of basketball season, which will hurt the schools chance to compete in their basketball playoffs.
I would venture to say that the powers at be will fix this to the best of their abilities, I just thought it was an issue that should not be brushed under the rug.
Check out more of Jake West’s Scoring Points by reading last week’s article: Football for NC and GA pushed back. 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 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.
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 email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 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.