If Governor Lee's executive order remains the same TSSAA votes for the second option for a football contingency plan with a hybrid plan deviation.
After weeks of anticipation as to what would happen with preps fall sports in wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the TSSAA has decided to leave ultimate authority in the governor's hands as to when they will begin.
On Wednesday, the TSSAA decided to create a new hybrid plan for football and approved an established one for girls soccer.
"The regulations and guidelines the Board passed today go into effect immediately for all sports," said Bernard Childress, Executive Director of the TSSAA, in a release. "We are hopeful that the prohibition on contact sports will be lifted before August 29th, but if it's not, the Board of Control has put some policies in place to help keep our kids and communities safe and lay out a roadmap to the start of our football and girls' soccer seasons.
"The governor's executive order remains in place. We cannot do anything right now other than weightlifting, conditioning, heat acclimation periods with no contact" reported Childress.
The approved football plan is split into two parts, both depending on when the governor's Executive Order 50 will expire. This order limits regular contact sports for high schools through August 29th.
Right now, if things hold as is, contingency plan two was signed off on by the TSSAA's Board of Control as the way to go for football right now.
This option will involve an August 30th practice start and September 18th regular season start and will involve eight games for the regular season and an abbreviated 16-team playoff bracket.
Only region winners and runners-up would be eligible for the playoffs in this situation. The two extra regular season games still would be allowed for non-playoff teams.
Essentially, football practice right now will start when the executive order ends, either early or on the timeline of plan two.
Schedules would not reset in this scenario, and the season would begin as soon as possible and there would be time blocked out for a few weeks of conditioning.
No scrimmages or practices with other schools are approved at any time this fall in any sport, in a separate decision for TSSAA COVID-19 guidelines made Wednesday.
It wasn't entirely clear at the time of publication when, for the hybrid plan, would be the earliest a team could play, but August football seemed to be a distinct possibility in the discussions. August 17th and 24 game starts would technically be possible under this plan.
The hybrid plan would also leave the status of continuing high school football each week during the pandemic determined by the situation at hand. There is always a possibility football could be canceled altogether if the pandemic worsens and the state changes its guidelines.
All coaches must complete the NFHS online COVID-19 course for coaches before start or resume of coaching.
So, in essence, when preps football in Tennessee starts will come down to the governor's office and its decision on Exec. Order 50.