Hope remains among high school football coaches for Tennessee Governor Bill Lee to grant an exemption to his state of emergency, which expires August 29, that would allow the regular season to proceed this fall as planned. The exemption would allow the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association to be placed in the same category as in-state college and professional teams that are exempt from the state of emergency order.
\Meanwhile, members of the TSSAA Board of Control, administrators representing schools in their area, are polling coaches in advance of an announcement on Wednesday concerning which of four options to implement should the exemption not be granted. While the governor’s office is considering the TSSAA’s exemption request, it may not be granted prior to Wednesday, July 8. As it stands now, regardless of the option voted on, teams will have to wait until August 30 to begin practicing in pads and their regular seasons would begin not earlier than September 18. What is affected most by the four options is the playoff schedule leading to state championships at the end of the regular season.
Option number 2 may be the closest to a regular season as it existed prior to the pandemic, as it allows for an eight-game regular season with a stipulation that teams not making the playoffs could add two more regular season games. Only the top two teams from each region would qualify for the playoffs.
Funding is another major concern, as teams must play enough home games to ensure survival of their programs, and the TSSAA would not take in the same amount of dollars as they have in the past with a reduced playoff format.
Things may clear up, or become more muddled, with the decision on Wednesday on what Tennessee high school football looks like in 2020.