While football, girls soccer are allowed full seasons

Governor Lee’s decision brings notes of skepticism

Gov. Bill Lee “announced that he will soon sign Executive Order No. 55, which will include TSSAA member schools in an exception to contact sports restrictions,” according to a TSSAA press release distributed Tuesday evening, July 28.

While this would allow for contact to begin in football and girls soccer practices Monday, Aug. 3 — and a full regular season of 10 games and a 32-team Division I playoff format in football — some Farragut-area coaches remained on guard.

Despite the press release quoting Bernard Childress, TSSA executive director, uncertainties were expressed about what Knox County Health Department and Knox County Schools leadership might restrict in light of continuing concerns about the coronavirus pandemic.

“Knox County Schools has got to make a decision,” one coach said less than two hours after the TSSAA release was posted.

In dealing with all the changing mandates during the spring and summer in connection with what is allowed during practice time, and coordinating plans for the season, “There is so much confusion about this,” the coach added. “I appreciate the governor moving forward, trying to help the schools.”

“Once the order is signed, contact may take place in girls’ soccer practice. … Football teams were allowed to begin heat acclimatization on July 20,” the TSSAA release stated. “Each (football) athlete must complete heat acclimatization (two days of helmets only, three days in helmets and shoulder pads) before practicing in full equipment, which is now permitted.”

“This is good news for many kids and their families,” Childress stated in the release, but added, “The reality is that the virus will continue to be with us and we have to be smart about taming the spread.

“Every adult and every participant in every sport must do their part and follow the guidelines set forth by TSSAA and the governor’s office to help mitigate these risks.”