FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) — High school football in the state of Florida has been officially delayed due to the state’s burgeoning coronavirus crisis.
The Florida High School Athletic Association’s board voted 11-4 Thursday night to push back the first day of practices to Aug. 24 with games starting no earlier than mid-September instead of mid-August.READ MORE: Surfside Families Push For Permanent Memorial At Site Of Condo Collapse
This was a reversal from earlier in the week when the same board voted 10-5 to start the season on time on July 27, but would have excluded COVID-19 hotspots like Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach Counties.
That decision had angered administrators and coaches in Miami-Dade and other hard-hit urban counties as they could not safely start on time and their teams would likely not have been eligible to compete for state titles. The Miami-Dade school board threatened to withdraw from the association if the decision wasn’t reversed.
“Sacrifices are going to have to be made, but I don’t want the sacrifice of making the wrong decision causing a death,” said FHSAA Board of Director’s President Lauren Otero regarding the new decision.
The board will hold another meeting with the Sports Medicine Advisory Board on August 17 allowing them to gather more data.
In the meantime, athletic conditioning is allowed to continue if a school districts agrees.
“We don’t have to make that decision right now which is the beauty of this. We can make a decision whether or not to start as a whole, as one body, to guide the entire state and the right decision,” said Otero.
The decision came with plenty of push back with some members arguing other parts of the state were being unfairly punished.READ MORE: Joe Jonas And Sophie Turner Buy Waterfront Miami Mansion For $11 Million
“This board is not taking into consideration for what is best for the entire state. Maybe for the most number of places, and most number of students, and most number of schools but not the entire state,” said FHSAA Board member Bobby Johns.
Half a dozen sports are on hold including other close contact activities like cross country and volleyball.
Darryl Heidelburg, the head football coach of Norland Senior High told CBS4 it doesn’t make sense to rush sports back if students can’t even attend class.
“If we are having problems getting the student part correct it’s only natural that we would have some problems getting the athlete part correct,” said Heidelburg.
Miami-Dade Public Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho said Wednesday his district could possibly allow some workouts if schools opened.
“We hope that by the time we begin the schooling process, we are able to resume in a limited capacity with social distancing and all of the preventive measures, some degree of conditioning, some degree of training, some degree of practice.”
Coach Heidelburg, who is also a teacher and Dean of Discipline at Norland, said his concerns go past the field of play.
“I can’t control the kids when they go home to their parents, and grandparents, and little brothers and sisters and things like that. I can’t control them hanging out with each other after practice.”MORE NEWS: Space Florida Seeks Space Force Training Site
There was a proposal that was withdrawn to allow contact sports to resume once community positivity rates dropped to 5 percent. It was withdrawn until more information can be provided by the medical committee on August 17.