GHSA allows helmets to be used, but still no word on start of football season

Published 8:13 pm Wednesday, July 15, 2020

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From Staff Reports



THOMASTON, GA – At a meeting held on Wednesday, July 15, the Georgia High School Association (GHSA) made the decision to allow high school football teams to use helmets as early as Monday, July 20. The association announced its decision on its website;

However, teams will be required to follow certain COVID -19 guidelines when using the helmets. Up until this latest decision, high school teams in Georgia have not been allowed to practice with helmets during their summer workouts. There is also to be no use of locker rooms and all previously instituted COVID-19 guidelines set down by the GHSA regarding summer workouts are still in place until further notice.

The GHSA and the SMAC have begun discussions concerning the beginning of the acclimatization period, which is between Monday, July 27, the official start of fall football practice, and Saturday, August 1, when the other sports begin their official practices. The acclimatization period is a period of five days in which football teams do conditioning before they are allowed to practice in pads. As of now, the GHSA has yet to decide when teams can start practicing in pads.

The GHSA has also yet to decide when or if the 2020 high school football season will begin this fall, but according to a report in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, football season could begin during the week of August 21.

Schley County Head Coach Darren Alford told the Americus Times-Recorder that he has been told by the GHSA that everything is “going forward as planned.”

“They (the GHSA) are going to have to make some concrete decision because they say that everything is going forward as planned, but we’ve got all the restrictions still on right now,” said Alford. “As far as interscholastic competition, we can’t do seven on sevens. We can’t do RTAs. We can’t do any of those things. Right now, they’re going to have to make a decision. They haven’t told us as coaches yet. They keep telling us that the season is as planned, but I can’t give you a straight answer because they won’t give me a straight answer.” According to the GHSA, high school football teams can still do intra-squad seven on seven scrimmages, but not against other school teams.

Americus-Sumter Head Coach Ross Couch said that he has not been notified about when the 2020 season will start, or if there will be a season, but did say that his players and assistant coaches continue to follow the COVID-19 guidelines set down by the GHSA. “They give us weekly status updates that last for the following week and we have not had a change in regulations in two weeks,” said Couch. “We are still holding firm with the groups of 50, including coaches, social distancing, sanitizing, etc. We have not received any information about the prospects of the season.”

While the GHSA is still considering the fate of 2020 fall sports in Georgia, One state has decided to cancel high school football in the fall and another state is close to doing the same. On Wednesday, July 15, the Virginia High School League (VHSL) Executive Committee unanimously decided that it would delay the start of the fall high school sports season and would not play football in the fall. This announcement was made on the organization’s website; While the VHSL decided to cancel football this fall, it is considering the possibility of having it next spring.

According to a report from WWL TV in New Orleans, high school football games will not be played in Louisiana until the state reaches Phase Four of its reopening. According to that same report, Louisiana is currently in Phase Two and will remain there until at least July 24.

As of now, there doesn’t seem to be any indication that the GHSA is going to cancel football in the fall, but it has yet to determine when the season will begin. It appears that it is taking a “wait and see” approach.