BY BRUCE BRANUM
The Greenville Standard
Fall high school sports are to resume according to the Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) and the Alabama Independent School Association.
Both organizations recently released updated rules and guidelines for the return of fall sports amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
AHSAA released an approved plan for plan for fall sports on Wednesday, July 22.
Steve Savarese, AHSAA executive director, said at press conference the next day, “Right now, we’re planning on having a full schedule.”
Denise Ainsworth, AHSAA assistant director, cautioned at the press conference these are not ‘normal times,’ and that the guide is not a final document.
It is expected to change as new information and data on the COVID-19 pandemic is released.
Fall sports which fall under the rule modifications include cross country, volley ball, swimming/diving, and football.
For those taking part in cross country, the course is to be widened to six feet where feasible and those on the sidelines will need to wear masks.
In volleyball meets, there will no longer be bench switching and meetings will no longer be held at the center. Organizers will also limit the number of people at the official’s table.
For those participating in swimming and diving events, they will need to arrive at the meet in their swim attire. There will also be a limited number of people allowed to be in attendance.
In football, the players’ box will be extended, and timeouts will be increased to two minutes.
Though AHSAA has provided guidelines for best practices, the board is giving freedom to schools to make decisions which are best for their campus.
A listing of AHSAA 2020 fall sports rules modifications can be found at https://www.ahsaa.com/2020-Fall-Sports-Rules-Modifications.
AISA Executive Director Michael McLendon wrote in letter to members:
“In the coming days, the AISA will release safety protocols for fall sports and be available to answer any questions. Of course, as time progresses, safety protocols will likely need to change or be adjusted, and we will need to be flexible as we proceed.”
On Thursday, July 23, McLendon released a statement saying cross country, volley ball and football will “proceed with plans for full and complete seasons.”
He added that football and volley ball, “will be restricted to competition against only one other team and multiple events, (i.e. tournaments, jamborees) will be prohibited.
According to McLendon, AISA would release safety protocols for fall sports in the coming days and that those safety protocols will likely need to change or be adjusted as time progresses.