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Starting dates for Kentucky high school fall sports pushed back to September due to pandemic

By Terry Boehmker
KyForward sports reporter

Starting dates for Kentucky high school football games and other fall sports competition were pushed back to September by the Kentucky High School Athletic Association on Tuesday.

During a virtual meeting that drew thousands of viewers, the KHSAA Board of Control voted in favor of changing the starting dates following the recent spike in COVID-19 cases around the state.

High school football games will now start on Sept. 11. All games scheduled prior to that date will be canceled, but teams will have an open date at the end of a nine-week regular season to add a game.

Covington Catholic’s Michael Mayer tries to break a tackle after catching a pass against Frederick Douglass in last year’s 5A state championship game. (Photo by Dale Dawn)

That open date was created by moving the first round of the football playoffs back to Oct. 13-14. The state championship games are now scheduled for Dec. 11-12 at the University of Kentucky.

Football teams can begin conducting full regular preseason practice sessions on Aug. 24 without limitations that were put into place earlier this summer due to the pandemic. Teams will be limited to 7.5 hours of practice time during the first week.

The first day of preseason practice sessions for soccer, volleyball, cross country and field hockey will also be Aug. 24 with the 7.5-hour limit during the first week. The first day of competition in those four sports will be Sept. 7. The starting date for soccer postseason playoffs was moved back to Oct. 12, but playoff schedules for the other fall sports remain the same.

The Board of Control scheduled another virtual meeting on Aug. 20 to review the high school sports situation in light of the ongoing pandemic and discuss any further measures.

“We have to be ready to pivot at a moment’s notice,” said KHSAA commissioner Julian Tackett. “We have to be flexible.”

Earlier this month, Kentucky high school golf teams got the go-ahead to start competition on July 31 because it’s a non-contact sport where social distancing is not a problem as it is for the other fall sports.

Up until Aug. 24, fall sports teams other than golf will continue to be limited to small group conditioning, weight lifting and skills training with no game-like practice drills. All teams will also be limited to six hours of training each week until Aug. 24.

The Board of Control also voted to:

* Restrict competition against out-of-state teams to those located in counties that border Kentucky;

* Limit football teams to 60 players in uniform on the sidelines during games;

* Limit multi-team events in all sports to eight teams;

* Set Aug. 24 as the starting date for competitive cheer and dance team practices.

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