FHSAA Board of Directors Discuss the Return of Sports in FL

The Florida High School Athletic Association held their final board of directors meeting of the 2019-20 school year via Zoom on June 9. Among the topics discussed was the future of fall sport training regulations post coronavirus cancellations of all spring sports for the 2020 season. 

Read: FHSAA Board of Directors Meeting Agenda 6/9

Here are our notes from the items discussed and voted on in the meeting (as they relate to high school cross country and track and field in the state of Florida): 

  • Approved policy changes in regards to heat stress (policy 41). Policy now awaits Gov. DeSantis signature. This policy states that heat must be monitored and a higher heat reading will require shortened and/or canceled/adjusted indoor facility practices if the heat reading reaches a certain level. This policy requires global thermometers and immersion tubs. 
  • Non-voting Item - Discussion of granting eligibility due to COVID19: 
    • "As of right now there are no states that granted any eligibility due to COVID. We need to realize that no one else did that, we are in line with our bylaws." - Bobby Johns, FHSAA Board of Directors President
    • Florida Department of Education Chancellor, Jacob Oliva, advocated student-athletes who lost their spring season due to COVID19. Made a case for the spring semester to not to count towards a student's eight semester eligibility. 
    • FHSAA board of directors does not hold the authority to waive the bylaws on eligibility. 
  • Discussion On Summer Conditioning for FHSAA member schools: 
    • Note: Gov. DeSantis has opened the state for youth sports with no regulations. Some counties across the state have reopened their campuses for practices, but there is no top down guidelines from the state on how to proceed with high school sports during the COVID19 emergency. Summer schedules/rules that have been sent out by FHSAA have been the same standard rules as every summer prior. The NFHS also released their guidance on reopening high school athletics and activities. 
    • Lauren Otero presented proposed guidelines and phases of reintegration of sports to the FHSAA Board of Directors. 
    • "What I have heard from constituents is that the FHSAA needs to provide some guidance. But we need to take a step beyond this to discuss going into Fall sports what this [ the return of training post COVID19 cancellations] will look like." - Lauren Otero
    • FLDOE will be releasing guidance in the coming days on the best practices that should be considered when developing policy for implementation, according to FLDOE's Jacob Oliva. 
    • Board President, Bobby Johns, advocated for individual school districts for making these decisions regarding the return of sports practices. 
    • "We do not have an even playing field in the state of Florida. Where's the equity? Where's the fairness? Should we even get to a place where we can play in playoffs." - Chris Patricca, Lee County School Board Member
    • FHSAA Executive Director George Tomyn proposed the creation of a task force in the near future to help with the operations committee when it comes to fall sports and the safety of member schools. 
    • Motion passes (10-2) for the FHSAA (with the help of it's sports-medicine advisory committee) to provide a set of guidelines regarding summer conditioning. 
  • Return to Competition For FHSAA Member Schools For Fall Sports 
    • FHSAA Board of Directors will meet in July to discuss the creation of a task force as schools approach the 2020-21 school year and potential FHSAA competition calendar changes.