GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Florida’s high school athletic board has voted to begin practices for football and other fall sports Aug. 24 and games less than two weeks later. The decision pushes aside the advice of medical experts who said competition shouldn’t resume for at least six weeks because of the coronavirus outbreak.
The Florida High School Athletic Association board voted 11-5 on Friday to begin practices this month, though some counties with major outbreaks might choose to delay their seasons and forgo participation in the statewide playoffs.
Football games and other competitions could start Sept. 4, but the 67 countywide school districts plus private schools will have until Sept. 18 to resume if they want to participate in the playoffs. Other fall sports affected are swimming and diving, cross country, golf, bowling and girl’s volleyball.
The association’s vote pushed aside the recommendation of its medical advisory board, which called for not resuming sports until Sept. 28 at the earliest. No county meets all the criteria the board recommended for the resumption of sports.
The decision comes as Florida reported more than 6,200 new coronavirus cases and 200 deaths on Friday. Over the past week, Florida has averaged 175 reported coronavirus deaths per day — only Texas was higher with 212.