Follow-Up: TSSAA delays start of football, girls’ soccer seasons

The TSSAA announced Tuesday that fall sports will indeed be delayed by the extension of Governor Bill Lee’s State of Emergency order through August 29th.

A prior Executive Order included limitation on contact sports and other activities requiring close physical contact. The Order issued on Monday will affect the start of the seasons for both high school football and girls’ soccer teams around the state.

Both seasons were supposed to have started in the third week of August, but Monday’s announcement means the fall sports season could be pushed back at least three weeks.

The TSSAA made no mention of whether golf, cross country, or girls volleyball seasons would be affected.

According to a statement from TSSAA Executive Director Bernard Childress, “While the Governor’s order is in place, member schools cannot have any competition or scrimmage with other schools and cannot have close contact activities during their fundamental practice in the sports of football, 7-on-7 football, girls soccer, wrestling and basketball.”

“We are working with the Governor’s office to ensure that our member schools are in compliance with the executive order in regards to athletic participation and contact sports,”Childress said in his statement.

“We are in the process of developing regular season and postseason options to present to the TSSAA Board of Control for their consideration,” according to Childress, who added, “The Board will ultimately make the decision as to how this will impact the postseason and if any adjustments can be made to regular season competition.”

New Clinton High School football Darel Keith said Wednesday that, “the football guy in me is of course very disappointed, but I understand the safety of our kids and our community come first.” Always one to look for a silver lining, Coach Keith also said that the extra time off will give him a chance to continue getting to know players and that in the long run, it could be a good thing for his team as it might “level the playing field.”

The biggest challenge right now is “holding the players back” because they are “chomping at the bit” to hit someone.

Small-group workouts will continue as they did before the Dead Period began last week, with no more than 8 or 9 players and 1 or 2 coaches in a group.

To keep the kids engaged, Keith said that coaches will incorporate more competition into team and individual drills.

Coach Keith wrote on the team’s Facebook page that with the State Of Emergency for the State of Tennessee being extended, the team will meet Monday, July 6th at 6:00 pm.

Coaches are asking the players and parents meet on the practice field outside of the complex for an information meeting and Question-and-Answer session on how the program will proceed.

Monday’s meeting will be held on the field outside in order for everyone to space out and observe social distancing guidelines. Coach Keith writes, “Please use your own discretion on wearing a mask and whatever makes you feel most comfortable to attend.”

Monday morning’s scheduled 7 am workout is cancelled, according to Coach Keith, who also asked parents players to “please be patient as we navigate through these times and hopefully have more guidance and/or a solution from the state level in hopes we can have football season this year.”

About Jim Harris

Jim Harris has been WYSH's News & Sports Director since 2000. In addition to reporting local news, he is the play-by-play voice for Clinton High School football, boys' and girls' basketball and baseball. Catch Jim live weekdays beginning at 6:20 am for live local news, sports, weather and traffic plus the Community Bulletin Board, shenanigans with Ron Meredith and more on the Country Club Morning Show on WYSH & WQLA. Jim lives in Clinton with his wife Kelly and daughter Carolina, his mother-in-law and cats Lucius and Oliver.

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