Florida High School Athletic Association Votes to Start Fall Sports July 27; Swim Season Is On

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Stuart, the site of the Florida High School State Championships. Photo Courtesy: Florida Swim Network Twitter

Florida High School Athletic Association Votes to Start Fall Sports July 27; Swim Season Is On

The Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) voted after a lengthy Board of Directors meeting to go forward with a July 27 start date regarding fall sports. After a four-hour meeting that discussed various options, including pushing back the start of fall sports to August 10, the board voted to allow schools to return to the playing field next week. However, each individual school district will have the option to withhold its teams from returning. Florida has been one of the hardest-hit states by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Swimming and diving is a fall sport in the state of Florida, and was deemed a low risk activity by the Sports Medical Advisory Committee (SMAC). Football and volleyball were deemed high risk sports while bowling, cross country and golf were also deemed low risk. The board’s medical advisory committee recommended the state delay the football and volleyball seasons but the recommendation was unanimously voted down by the board, according to WTXL News in Tallahassee.

The committee also discussed schools having their athletes sign waivers before being allowed to play. The waivers would acknowledge the signs and symptoms of COVID-19, and the risks of the virus. The committee also noted that spectators will not be allowed to attend practices or competitions, but each district will have the right to make a decision regarding fans in attendance, although it is recommended they do not permit spectators.

SMAC recommended for all schools to have COVID-19 screening in place with temperature checks. Prior to any participation, students must complete a waiver saying they acknowledge the risks of playing.

During the meeting, the BOD engaged in back-and-forth discussions that also included moving the fall season to another point on the calendar, such as what California has decided to do. Before adjourning, the Board of Directors decided to meet again and further discuss the recommendations contained in the SMAC report.

44 comments

    • Nadine Day

      Leslie Cichocki still waiting on IHSA meeting this week

    • Jen Hintz

      Leslie Cichocki keeping my finger crossed that my daughter will have her senior year swim season🤞🏻

      • avatar
        jj graham

        wouldn’t you rather make sure she lives to go to college?

    • Joanne Newton

      Marly Zea well, it IS Florida, so….

    • Marly Zea

      Joanne Newton no jokes please , you do not understand the situation here

    • Joanne Newton

      Marly Zea well, it IS Florida, so….

    • Marianne Mari

      Joanne Newton agree. They are a mess down there!

  1. Mike McHenry

    good luck down there…youre going to need it

  2. William Wheeler

    If you’re a swimmer planning on swimming in college, you should forget about the high school swim season this year and stick with your club team. We all know the colleges hardly recruit from the high school team anyway. Stay safe in Florida.

    • avatar
      Anonymous

      Whatever man.

    • avatar
      Scott Slay

      So you do realize there is a good chance that high level USA Swim meets do not happen this school year.

    • Jen Thompson

      William Wheeler good advice our club was just was geeen lit to start in a month. And hs sports was already passed to start.

  3. Rachael Taryn

    But only if your district gives the okay to start. The FHSAA failed miserably in terms of meeting their commitment to “…providing a level playing opportunity for all student-athletes…” as not all districts are able to open athletics on July 27.

  4. David Moreno

    Is this how Florida leadership has lead them to where they are today? I understand swimming n diving but football and volleyball!?! Good luck

  5. Luis Moreno

    Swimming is understandable… non-contact, social distancing is possible.

  6. Mark Usher

    As a FHSAA swimming official, I have very mixed feelings about this.
    As much as I would love to see the kids back in competition, I think it’s way to early given the situation here (I’m in Sarasota).
    Just getting pool time for training would be a problem, let alone the ability of some schools to conduct meets in accordance with COVID-19 protocols.
    My suggestion would be to push back until at least October 1st and see how things are going.

    • Aaron Neidert

      Mark Usher Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade won’t even be ready to start on July 27th!!!! I wish they would push back the start, but the state won’t do it.

    • Mark Usher

      Aaron Neidert One of our local HS coaches told me today that they’re considering holding virtual meets to start the season.

    • Aaron Neidert

      Mark Usher Since Palm Beach County is going virtual to begin the year, no athlete is allowed on campus to practice for any sport. The schools are not opening until Phase 2. This will not be your normal state series this year in Florida.

  7. avatar
    Cathy Silveira

    FHSAA failed Swimming and Diving. Swimming may be deemed a low contact, low transmission risk, because properly treated water contains it. But swimmers have to get into pools that are under strict social distancing/health regulations or occupancy. With most facilities refusing to confirm lane space, and the majority of public high schools having no pools, schools will simply drop the sport or move to a pay to play model of club swimmers only; holding no practices, minimum # of meets. South Florida is in phase one and slated to open schools virtually. Many club teams have just returned to practices in the last couple of weeks with limited space/time in the very same public facilities that typically rent to high schools. With 1-2 swimmers allowed per lane under limited access opening, facilities can not accommodate the high school needs; and the rental costs become prohibitive if considering the number of lanes required for 40 swimmers (20 boys 20 girls). Travel outside of the county for any competition is not allowed which would directly affect some districts and definitely regionals and states. Applauding the FHSAA ‘s preoccupation with football, and its reluctance to look at each sport individually, is failing to see the long term effects on the sport. Wave those CV19 waivers as protection from legal recourse Go ahead and cheer the July 27 start date and pat yourselves on the back FHSAA for “getting them back to the field”. It is not feasible for us. And this decision may have just killed high school swimming in South Florida.

  8. Jason Cronk

    Very happy for all the kids. Covid has little to no effect on them. This gives kids the opportunity to play if they want. If you’re nervous about Covid, don’t play.

  9. MaryJane Perkins Kissel

    As much as everyone misses seeing their kids compete, this is not the smartest of ideas