Four options for prep fall football were announced by TSSAA Executive Director Bernard Childress and presented to the TSSAA Board of Control on Wednesday following TN Gov Bill Lee’s extension of a statewide state of emergency until August 9, 2020. Football programs and girls soccer are — when the dead period ends July 5 — only allowed weightlifting and conditioning through Aug. 29.
FOOTBALL OPTION A
Football contact practice will begin Aug. 30 and will go for three weeks. The football season would start Sept. 18 and would be a seven-game regular season. The playoffs would start on time (Friday, Nov. 6). The TSSAA would set the region schedules for every school, and football teams would have to scrap their current schedules. Teams that do not qualify for playoffs in Option A would get the opportunity to play two extra games.
FOOTBALL OPTION B
Football contact practice will begin Aug. 30. The season would start Sept. 18. There would be an eight-game regular season. The first round of the playoffs would be eliminated, and there would be a 16-team bracket. Only region champions and region runners-up would qualify for the playoffs. The TSSAA would set the region schedules for every school. Teams that don’t qualify could schedule for two additional games.
FOOTBALL OPTION C
Football contact practice will begin Aug. 30. First contest would be Sept. 18. The first two weeks of the playoffs would be eliminated which would give teams a nine-game regular season. Only region champions would qualify for the playoffs — which would start in the quarterfinal round. Schools would keep their current schedules for the 2020 season. Teams that don’t qualify for the playoffs could schedule one additional game.
FOOTBALL OPTION D
There’d be no championships in the 2020 season, only a handful of games. Teams could schedule up to an additional five games to finish out their schedules. NOTE: Childress said not much support has been given to this option, but he wanted to present it anyway.
Extend the season by a couple of weeks. The normal starting date is Aug. 17, but girls’ soccer would not start until September, extending it a couple of weeks from its normal conclusion in late October. Childress said this would still allow for a full postseason and state championship week; however, one BOC member said this extension could conflict with start of club soccer seasons.
The Board of Control is expected to select their option for football and girls’ soccer on July 8.
After all these options were presented, Childress did disclose that he and the TSSAA are in contact with Gov. Lee’s office about including TSSAA sports into the same realm as college and pro sports in regard to the executive order. Should Gov. Lee relent and roll TSSAA sports into the same group as pro and college sports, that would allow for the TSSAA football season and girls’ soccer season to begin on time.
“One of these three options (for football) we’re going to have to approve and move forward,” said Childress,“and we’re going to have to do everything we can do for girls’ soccer to have their complete seasons.”
Golf, volleyball and cross country are still allowed to proceed by the normal TSSAA Sports Calendar, as they are not under the mandate of Gov. Lee’s executive order since they’re non-contact sports.