COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - With the COVID-19 pandemic continuing, the South Carolina Football Coaches Association offered a few recommendations regarding the upcoming high school football season.
The association came up with four different plans to determine how the season should be scheduled because of the pandemic.
“Our priority is to keep South Carolina’s youth safe and healthy at all costs,” officials with the SC Football Coaches Association said. “We also recognize the importance that athletics plays in their lives and their futures as we strive to provide a safe environment for them that complies with all regulations in this new world of a global pandemic. Our recommendations were developed should those making the decisions for the state and local communities need or desire our input in moving forward.”
The first recommended plan would be to adhere to the athletic calendar provided by the South Carolina High School League in hopes that COVID-19 cases would dwindle to the point where teams could begin and maintain a normal academic and athletic calendar. Under this plan, teams would utilize a “phase in” process outlined by the National Football of High School Associations, the SCHSL, and local districts.
The second plan would adjust the fall season and implement the “phase in” process for the remainder of the summer. The hope for coaches would be that the numbers decrease enough allowing schools to have in-person attendance. With that, games would begin in mid-September with heat acclimation rules in effect. However, teams would only be allowed two scrimmages before the season starts and the number of regular-season games for teams would be limited focusing on region play. With the limited number of games, the number of teams to make the playoffs would also see a reduction to accommodate the later start. Still, the season would be completed along the same timeline as indicated by the current SCHSL calendar.
Should this plan become necessary, coaches recommend that it be put in place by August 1. Regions would have to recreate their schedules unless it has been set for all teams in the region to take place at the end of the season. Smaller regions would be able to schedule a few non-region games or other local games to boost their gate revenue for the year.
The association stated this play would only restrict play in the fall and would not affect the rest of the athletic calendar.
The third plan would require the athletic calendar to be rearranged to accommodate all sports based on the level of contact risk. Under this plan, sports would be categorized as Low Risk, Moderate Risk, or High Risk based on the amount of contact.
The year would begin with sports categorized as Low Risk in the fall while Moderate Risk sports would be played in the winter and High Risk sports would take place in the spring.
The final plan would eliminate all sports for the first semester. Instead, all sports would be played in the second semester. Under this plan, seasons would last two months and would be significantly reduced and only region champions would be eligible for the playoffs.
Ultimately, the SCHSL will make the final decision regarding football season this year.