Florida High School Athletic Association green lights fall sports for August 24

Posted at 6:07 AM, Aug 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-14 23:12:08-04

The Florida High School Athletic Association board of directors voted Friday afternoon to begin practices for fall sports on August 24.

That would be the first allowable date for practices in football, bowling, cross country, swimming, diving and volleyball to begin.

The first allowable regular-season games or meets can start on Sept. 4.

"It’s something that we were very afraid that it would not be able to happen so we’re ecstatic, the kids are ecstatic," said Earl Garcia, head football coach at Hillsborough High School in Tampa. "Now, we just need to add fans and the band and the student body."

The board also passed an amendment allowing schools or school districts the option to get out of the state series and create their own fall sports calendar with possible regional championships under the guidance of the FHSAA.

Schools have until Sept. 18 to opt-out if they don't feel ready and can create their own schedule.

ABC Action News has learned Hillsborough and Pinellas counties will start practices on August 24 while Pasco will delay until Sept. 7.

Hernando County Public Schools has postponed fall sports indefinitely.

"We are hopeful practice may begin in September but, as of now, we have no firm date. Today’s FHSAA decision did not impact our plan. We will start when we are confident it is safe for our students. The board also expected agreed to make a waiver available to schools that choose to use it," stated Karen Jordan, public information officer.

The liability waiver puts the burden on the athlete and parent if the child contracts COVID-19.

"My next goal is really which college will give me the best opportunity to play," said Hernando County running back C'ontae Cason.

Cason is courting scholarship offers from across the nation after racking up nearly 2,000 yards and 29 touchdowns in his junior year.

He is urging his district to allow players back on the field to do what they love.

"It’s my senior year, I got to go out with a bang because who knows what could happen," said Cason.

The FHSAA is responsible for regulating nearly 800 schools across the state.