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Fall sports practice pushed back for Bay District Schools

Published: Aug. 17, 2020 at 3:53 PM CDT
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BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WJHGWECP) -

The FHSAA announced last week school districts could start fall practices as early as August 24 while allowing schools to start later if they wanted to.

Monday Bay District Schools announced its decision.

“The first official date of fall practice will be September 7th,” said Executive Director of Operations Josh Balkom.

The decision came after a meeting with high school athletic directors, coaches, medical professionals, and Bay District staff and officials.

Two people who listened in on the conference call Monday morning told Newschannel 7 Sports Director Scott Rossman a good chunk of the call was dedicated to hearing from Dr. Mike Noble, a local family and sportsmedicine physician. They said Dr. Noble talked about the potential complication of myocarditis for Covid victims. That’s an inflammation of the heart muscle which can affect the ability for the heart to pump blood and cause an irrgular heartbeat. After that was talked about, it seemed to scare everyone listening, and as one person said to Rossman “everyone on the call seemed afraid to speak up after that. So nobody said anything when Superintendent Bill Husfelt said he was going to push back the start of fall sports.”

As for pushing back, officials say the extra time will allow schools to focus on starting the school year safely as well as providing student-athletes more time to get physically prepared.

“We did not want to put too much on our student-athletes too fast. They do need to get acclimated to the new normal when it comes to school,” said Balkom.

The biggest challenge now facing coaches and athletic directors is coordinating schedules as each county could have different start dates.

“[We’re] going back and looking at our original schedules, contacting schools who were on our original schedules and seeing what their counties have decided,” said County Athletic Director Kirk Harrell. “There’s a lot of schools following a lot of different schedules and a lot of openings where they didn’t before. So, it’ll take some time to piece the schedule together.”

As schedules are built, Arnold girls volleyball coach Alan Clements says even though he’s disappointed about the later start and concerned about scheduling, his team, especially his seniors are ready to compete.

“We all want to be safe that’s the main thing, honestly that’s the main thing but I’ve never seen such excitement for a season as I have with these girls and I’ve been coaching for 25 years,” said Clements. “They’re dying to play.” The coach went on to say “We lost... the way it looks, we’re going to lose about 10 matches. When we found for when we found out we can start on the fourth we went ahead, coaches started calling each other and trying to schedule things. So we put together so we put together pretty much a new schedule. And then we can get the news today that it’s pushed back another week. So we don’t know yet who’s going to be able to travel? Who’s not going to be able to travel? How we’re going to be able to travel? so we’re waiting until tomorrow (Tuesday) there’s going to be another meeting. And will find out more at that point. And then will put together a schedule and hopefully will be equitable to everybody.”

District officials say in the meantime any conditioning teams did over the summer can continue into the school year.

District officials say they have discussed the idea of moving to a Bay County-only schedule but will wait to see what surrounding counties do before making that decision.

As for some of the ripple effects of all this, Wewahitchka is a good example. The Gators were set to play Bozeman in their opener September 4th. That won’t happen now. Wewa head coach Bobby Johns tellins us he say this decision by BDS coming, and was already working to replace Bozeman on the schedule. As for the ability of his school to start Monday and play in early September, a decision coach Johns had a big part in with his work on the FHSAA Board of Directors, he told us this Monday.

“You know it took a while to get to where we wanted to get to but you know I think we made the right decision. We won’t know until the end of this whole thing. But at least we gave districts and parents and kids an option to be able to try and start you know fall sports. And there again my biggest concern was I was afraid if we kept pushing it back we were just going to end up canceling altogether. So we may still have to cancel. But at least this gives us a chance to get started and you know for folks to try and get their kids on the field, or on the court or wherever it might be.”

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Bay District Schools announced on Monday that practice for fall sports will be pushed back until September 7th. A start date for games and matches has not been determined yet.

Friday, the FHSAA made the decision to allow fall sports practice to start on Monday, August 24, and games to start on September 4. Bay County Schools decided to push back the start dates after a conference call with local health and school officials.

Sports conditioning is still allowed to take place.

This story will be updated with more details, as well as reaction with local coaches later tonight.

Copyright 2020 WJHG. All rights reserved.

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