Athletic directors in the Oahu Interscholastic Association have not received official word about a change in the fall sports start date.
According to Ian Scheuring of Hawaii News Now, however, the date is Aug. 19. Scheuring’s tweet on Thursday afternoon caught administrators off guard.
That could change with an official announcement on Friday.
The Hawaii High School Athletic Association has a statewide start date for football practice, Aug. 17, but that is expected to change — possibly because of the spike in COVID-19 cases locally. According to HHSAA official Russ Aoki, the committee of league representatives will meet with the association soon.
“The start date calendar for football will be amended for at least a couple weeks. We meet next week to work on details,” Aoki said.
Athletic directors expect to give their fall sports teams — football, girls volleyball, cross country and bowling — roughly four weeks to prepare before beginning league play. The HHSAA has already announced that the football time frame could be held back until as late as October.
The DOE announced last week that public schools will open on Aug. 4.
Earlier in the day, the Big 10 and Pac-12 conferences announced plans to eliminate nonconference play. The Ivy League cancelled its fall sports season on Wednesday with the possibility of moving football to spring season.
In Michigan, one of many states tinkering with the possibility of moving high school football and other fall sports to the winter or spring, Gov. Gretchen Witmer suggested the switch more than a week ago in a Detroit News article.
“I’m also calling on the Michigan High School Athletic Association to consider postponing fall sports that have the impossibility of social distancing as a part of them, considering moving those to the spring and running some of the more individualized sports like track and field or tennis or golf to the fall,” Whitmer said. “I anticipate a decision from them somewhere around July 20 to 25, is what they’ve indicated.”
Since the governor’s suggestion was made public, the MHSAA reiterated its plan to stick with the traditional order of sports seasons.
In Texas, one of the hotspots of coronavirus explosion, the situation for fall sports is grimmer than ever. The Dallas Independent School District Superintendent, Michael Hinojosa, told MSNBC today that he has major doubts.
“That’s a true contact sport, I don’t see how we can pull that off. There’s been some discussion of moving it to the spring, but we’ll have to wait and see. I don’t, I seriously doubt that we can pull that off,” Hinojosa told MSNBC.
Texas reported 98 deaths due to COVID-19 on Wednesday, a new high. In another report, a handful of coaches met with an NBC Fort Worth news affiliate and expressed a willingness to move football season to the spring.
This echoes what veteran Saint Louis Coach Ron Lee has said for several months, that scheduling for all sports would be better served by moving higher risk sports — football, wrestling, competitive cheer — to the spring while switching lower risk sports to the fall.
“If we start (games) in September and we have three or four (football) kids who are tested positive, are we going to cancel the season? What is the protocol. That is my question. Guaranteed there will be positive cases,” Lee said. “Make a decision. Say, Jan. 15 is the first game, then you have four months to finish the (football) season, and move the manageable sports earlier.”
Lee has coached prep and college football since 1969.
“(Lower-risk sports) don’t have to use a locker room. There’s no equipment,” he noted. “But if you don’t utilize August, September or October, everything’s going to get bunched up (in winter and spring), and you have to cut this, cut that.”
Also, as of Thursday, there is now precedent for switching seasons. The California Community College Athletic Association announced that all sports will move to the spring. There will be a games reduction of 30 percent and postseason competition will be regional.