KENTUCKY — High school students will still be able to play sports, at least for now.
What You Need To Know
- KHSAA approves plan to go forward with fall sports
- Board voted 16-2 to go forward with shortened fall season
- Practices will start at some schools starting next week
- Plan still needs approval from governor, others
Thursday, the Kentucky High School Athletic Association (KHSAA) voted 16-2, deciding to move forward as planned with a shortened fall sports season. Practices will start at some schools as early as next week.
After more than 90 minutes of debate and discussion on three different options for the fall sports season, the KHSAA Board of Control overwhelmingly voted in favor of their original plan, allowing the high school sports season to start Aug. 24.
"There are people regardless of what you do today. They're going to find fault. It's really easy from the cheap seats. The views really clear,” said Julian Tackett, KHSAA commissioner.
Starting Monday, all high schools in Kentucky with cross country, field hockey, soccer, volleyball, and football teams can begin practicing on their school campuses.
Actual games for each sport are allowed to start Sept. 7.
Games for football teams are tentatively slated to kick-off Sept. 11.
As for football, teams will now begin their playoffs Nov. 13 and 14, compared to the previous dates of Nov. 6 and 7. The state football finals will now occur Dec. 11 and 12.
As far as practice, athletes will be able to wear helmets starting Aug. 26, shoulder pads Sept. 2, and full gear Sept. 5.
The official start date happens during week four of the original season, meaning teams will now play eight regular-season games. Some schools have added a ninth game for the Friday before the playoffs.
“Social media seems to be the king of misinformation, but there's a lot of information about multiple delays, that just hadn't happened. This board and this staff have consistently supported moving forward with opportunities for kids in any, any way possible,” added Tackett.
Tackett says in his three decades with the KHSAA, this year is only the second time that the high school sports season has been delayed, but he’s happy the board took it’s time to receive and review feedback from the community. The responses, he says, came from several platforms.
"We did get a lot, and this is the one of the pitfalls of social media. We have a lot of emails that came in. Most of them are very pleasant. Most of them were suggestive, I was kind of surprised. I was surprised by how many epidemiologists are out there, there's apparently a lot who are experts. And I was surprised by people, I wasn't surprised, I was pleasantly surprised by people who had entire teams send notes, etc.,” explained Tackett.
The KHSAA now plans to submit it’s recommendation to start fall sports to Gov. Andy Beshear's (D) office, along with the Kentucky Department of Education and Department of Public Health for final review and approval.