A called meeting of the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association’s Board of Control held Wednesday turned out to be a short one.
Planned to weigh and decide on one of three options for starting football later than its originally set Aug. 21 date, in light of Governor Bill Lee’s extension last week of his most recent executive order regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, the meeting was sidetracked following a request by TSSAA executive director Bernard Childress to delay any vote on a contingency plan. Childress cited discussions with the governor’s legal counsel in making the request.
“We’re making progress,” he said. “We want to continue working with the governor’s legal counsel and we will update the board.
“They want to continue to study data. We need to give the legal team the opportunity to see it.”
Childress said during a press conference last week that he felt comfortable beginning workouts and competitive play on schedule, but that would require an intervention of the governor’s office.
“We feel comfortable that during competition, we can handle the physical distancing and we can handle all the modifications we need to handle to keep the game as safe as possible, just like they’re doing,” he said a week ago. “They’re willing to listen to us to see if what we lay out to them would even give them pause to say ‘we can exempt you all and let you play earlier than what we’ve laid out’.”
Meanwhile, practices at Columbia Central did not resume this week as planned following the TSSAA-mandated two-week dead period.
“We had several families travel out of town last week,” Central coach Jason Hoath said. “We had to make sure everybody got tested. We’re just making sure we’re all good to go before we come back.”
A Columbia Central player had a positive COVID-19 test over the weekend of June 12-14, resulting in the team missing that week of practice prior to the start of the dead period.
“He and his family are doing well,” Hoath said. “He’s been tested again and the results were negative. We dealt with it the best we could.”
By not setting a contingency plan, which would have seen a Sept. 18 start to football, the possibility continues to exist of an on-time start for football season.
“If we start on time, if the schedule is not affected, losing this week hurts,” Hoath said. “(Otherwise) it’s not going to be that much of an effect.”