Uncertainty still abounds when it comes to the return of school sports.
While the decision to end all spring sports came April 15, there were still questions on how schools could proceed in the summer. Many teams, especially football programs, are usually in the midst of preparations for the fall season by late April, but they’re still on hold for now.
The Standard obtained a memo sent to TSSAA and TMSAA administrators and coaches last week that outlines how to proceed in the next months from TSSAA executive director Bernard Childress. He sheds some light on what can and can’t be done right now, though he admits there is no firm date on returning to action.
“Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we do not know when school or non-school teams will be allowed to compete against one another,” the memo read. “As far as practice, all member school athletic programs must follow the TSSAA/TMSAA sports calendar as written. TSSAA is recommending that member schools follow the state and local government along with the CDC and local health department guidelines concerning social distancing, understanding that these guidelines will continue to change from county-to-county and as the summer progresses.”
Currently, all sports are considered to be in the offseason until summer begins, which happens on the date schools were set to dismiss this spring. Coaches are currently allowed to conduct online practice sessions (as long as they follow guidelines).
The TSSAA requires that all online weight lifting and conditioning “must be open to all students.” There also can be no requirements of athletes to participate.
No exceptions will be made on the sports calendar, including dead period. Some had speculated dead period – a required time where teams couldn’t practice – would be lifted due to the lengthy absence of workouts, but that won’t be the case.
Childress also pointed out that local schools will have the final say in how coaches will be able to interact with their students.
“It is totally left up to the local boards of education, director of schools, and/or head of school as to how much they are going to allow coaches to do face-to-face with their students,” the memo read.
The question-and-answer portion provided by the memo can be found on southernstandard.com.