High school sports will begin later, have shorter seasons

Published on Thursday, July 16, 2020

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High school football will remain played in the fall but with a later start and shorter schedule.

Justin Baustert Photo

High school football will remain played in the fall but with a later start and shorter schedule.


High school sports will get a later start because of the impact of COVID-19.

The South Carolina High School League Executive Committee approved Wednesday to forward the start of fall sports contests to September. The 14-2 vote was reached by the virtual meeting.

A proposal by Lexington County School District 1 officials to flip sports seasons, moving football to the spring was voted down.

The proposal has teams in all sports playing region competition first. Non-region games can be added later in the season if schools agree and if dates are available before the start of playoffs.

The 2020-2021 athletic calendar was designed from a survey returned from superintendents, principals and athletic directors throughout the state. Schools and coaches also offered input.

A discussion was held whether football practices could begin within the next few weeks, but is unlikely since athletes aren’t allowed to share balls or wear helmets at this time. Since guidelines are already in place because of COVID-19, no statewide mandate was necessary, according to the committee.

Here are some key points SCHSL Executive Director Jerome Singleton announced:

• Start of practices moved from July to Aug. 17.

• Fall sports team allowed two scrimmages and a jamboree.

• Games begin four weeks later.                          

• Seven regular season games begin Sept. 11.

• Regular season football games end Oct. 23.

• Football playoffs begin Oct. 30, and three or four rounds end Nov. 21, if no interruptions or move into December if playoffs begin later.

Transportation and facilities will have to be worked out to accommodate teams, Singleton said.

The SCHSL plan is based on all schools being in session, regardless in person or virtual classes. The schools’ athletes are eligible to compete even if all classes are virtual.

According to the SCHSL, a total of 39 superintendents weighed on in-person practices. Of those 39, 29 superintendents were in favor of suspending in-person practices. 

The state’s private schools are governed by the South Carolina Independent Schools Association is not affected by Wednesday’s decision. Preseason practices are scheduled to begin July 30 and games begin in August.




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