Prep sports advisory committees favor Aug. 24 start date. Will it happen?

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Based on a series of recent meetings held among Florida prep coaches, athletic directors and student-athletes, support appears to be mounting for the high school fall sports season to begin later this month.

Florida High School Athletic Association advisory committees for every fall sport except volleyball have leaned heavily toward an option of letting the fall season begin Aug. 24, Cambridge Christian athletic director Mark Butler said.

The option is the first among three sports-calendar proposals drafted by the association for the 2020-21 academic year. The association’s board of directors voted at their last meeting to push back the first permissible day of fall sports practice to Aug. 24.

Butler was part of a 15-member athletic director advisory committee that met Wednesday and favored ― albeit slightly ― the more drastic measure (Option Three) of starting the fall sports regular season in mid-December and also delaying the start of the winter and spring seasons

Eight of the athletic directors favored Option Three. Butler, who called the 2-1/2-hour meeting among athletic directors “professional” and “positive,” was among seven in favor of Option One.

“I think everyone realizes there’s not gonna be a one-size-fits-all this year,” said Butler, the association’s Section Three representative for private schools. “It’s just not possible with everything going on with (COVID-19).”

Related: Despite risks, older prep football coaches not sitting out 2020 season

Butler said all nine members of the football advisory committee favored Option One. A student-athlete advisory committee also favored Option One by an 8-2 count, Butler added.

“(The students) want to play, for their mental health, and they were confident in the safety protocols,” Butler said. “And they also liked the idea that was floated out there that if we’re going to start with Option One, and let’s say that some schools can’t start ‘til later, then go ahead and let those schools jump in when they can.”

The sentiments of the advisory committees will be considered by the association’s board, which meets again Aug. 14, presumably to vote on a calendar for the ’20-21 sports year.

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