High school football has the green light in Kentucky. This afternoon, Governor Andy Beshear announced he will NOT overturn the KHSAA’s plan to allow high schools across the state to begin fall sports practice this week even though he disagrees with it.
“Let me start by saying we’re not going to overturn that decision and it’s not because I think that it’s a good decision or a wise decision, but if we’re going to defeat this virus, we need people — other than me, up here — all over Kentucky taking responsibility to make good and wise decisions. I have concerns, and I think Dr. Stack will share his, that by starting with some of the most high contact sports, we risk a shortened season, we risk what I think can be successful plans to get our kids back in school, we risk every other sport that’s going to follow. But we can’t be making every decision on what’s best for folks out of the Governor’s office and it’s going to be incumbent on our superintendents, on coaches, on the different groups to make the wisest decisions that they can.”
Beshear noted that the Southeastern Conference delayed the start of fall sports and will test players three times per week, something that most high schools across the state simply cannot do. Dr. Stack cited concerns about myocarditis, a rare heart condition linked to coronavirus.
“Every program that’s going to start up, I want you to really think, are we testing our athletes?” Beshear said. “Are we doing everything that it takes to keep them safe? Are we putting them first?”
Last week, the KHSAA Board of Control approved the new fall sports calendar by a vote of 16-2. A nine-week high school football season will kick off Sept. 11, according to the plan that was previously established last month:
- Aug. 24 — Helmet-only practices begin
- Sept. 11 — Regular-season play begins (nine-week regular season)
- Nov. 13 — First round of playoffs (keeping all five rounds)
- Dec. 11-12 — State finals at UK moved ahead one week
Other fall sports are also set to begin practicing today. Cross country, volleyball, soccer and field hockey will still be able to play 80% of their regular season games by abiding by the following calendar:
- Aug. 24 — Light practice (six hours per week)
- Aug. 31 — Full practice
- Sept. 7 — Full competition begins
The decision will now be up to individual school districts/superintendents, many of which — including Jefferson and Fayette County — have already postponed practice, with meetings scheduled for tonight to decide whether or not to move forward.