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High school sports contingency plan "best of both worlds," according to TSSAA Board of Control VP

The plan, approved Wednesday, will allow teams to keep schedules in place with a September 18 start date if Gov. Lee allows practice to begin August 30

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — With the ability to make concrete plans severely limited amid COVID-19, the TSSAA Board of Control passed several contingency plans for football and girl's soccer season this fall.

The board approved a week-by-week road map for football Wednesday, all centered around when Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee may allow full-contact practices to begin. 

The plan is for an eight-game regular season beginning September 18, contingent upon Lee's State of Emergency expiring August 29, allowing practices to begin August 30. To accommodate the delayed season, the first round of the postseason has been eliminated. TSSAA Board of Control vice president and Central High School principal Greg McCullough said he is satisfied with the board's decision.

"The TSSAA office, who gets lot of grief a lot of times, they did tremendous work on this," he said. 

The hybrid aspect of the plan means games can start earlier if the all-clear is given before August 30, however; if the Executive Order is extended, that September 18 start date will be impacted and the board will have to revisit their options.

"[Gov. Lee] could extend it if things still stay bad," McCullough said. "All these things could happen that could make a change in it, but we wanted to at least give the football coaches some guidelines to work towards, the kids to give them some hope. We want to not only start a season, the key is we want to finish it."

The board also approved girl's soccer to begin September 7 with the postseason starting November 11, but like football, that plan is at the mercy of what Lee decides next month.

"I think it's just a matter of making very tough decisions, and the governor has some critically tough decisions, so do superintendents," McCullough said. "So just hoping the governor gives us a chance to make this work, and if not, we've got to adjust and make it work beyond that time frame."

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