Because of COVID-19, sports programs have been delayed or canceled, including high school sports. Specifically in Tennessee, high school football, and other sports have been delayed since March.
Governor Bill Lee extended the state of emergency in Tennessee until August 29th. When the question of high school sports came up, the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association gave restrictions on all close-contact sport practices until August 30th.
— TN High School Football (@tnhsfb) July 13, 2020
Right now, a lot of players and families are wondering if football will be happening at all.
With this pandemic still remaining strong and spring sports already being canceled or delayed, fans were seriously hoping TSSAA would find answers in regards to playing a somewhat normal football season on time.
It seems they have. Kind of.
— Noah Taylor (@ByNoahTaylor) July 13, 2020
According to TSSAA Director Bernard Childress, there are three options that will be presented to the board and voted on before the start of the hopefully still happening football season.
Option 1: Somewhat Regular
The first option is to play a seven-game season (instead of the regular 10-games) and a 32-team playoff bracket. This is probably the most “normal” option. It gives every team a chance to compete in the playoffs. Seven games isn’t much, but it allows for a nice little season. It’s definitely better than nothing.
Option 2: Pretty Competitive
The second option is an eight-game season with a 16-team postseason bracket. This means teams will have to play a bit more competitively in order to earn a spot in the playoffs. However, it gives an extra game in the regular season which can completely change which team ends up competing for the gold.
Option 3: Football’s Getting Serious
The third option is a nine-game season but an eight-team postseason bracket. This really stretches the odds of the teams who will advance. Nine games is a lot of time for an underdog team to rise to the occasion, or make a top team fall in the last few games. This option is pushing it for only allowing eight teams total to play in a postseason.
There is a fourth option, but it is not a crowd favorite. Childress proposed to start the season on September 18 and having no playoff season at all. The regular season games would be played and nothing else. His suggestion gained no support online.
When it comes to safety regulations, TSSAA has not come out and said exactly what they will do yet. Social distance requirements and face masks regulations are still up in the air. However, it can be assumed if the pandemic doesn’t calm down, fans will not be allowed at the games. Families and high school football lovers will have to watch the games virtually.
Overall, the options above are much better than not having a season at all. One can only hope to watch some high school football, even if it’s from the comfort of your own home.
Featured image via Mid American Sports Construction