The back and forth between the Colorado High School Activities Association and Colorado Gov. Jared Polis over whether or not to play high school sports in the fall continued this week, and in an emergency executive meeting late Wednesday night, the CHSAA Board of Directors approved the option for school districts to have football, field hockey and sideline spirit teams resume this fall.
With all but three board members voting ‘yes’ for the measure, the next step is for individual school districts to determine whether they want to participate in Season A of the 2020-21 calendar or remain in the Season C slot, which would remain at the Feb. 22 start date.
The meeting was held late Wednesday, hours after Gov. Polis announced that his office would conditionally approve the CHSAA’s request to make some outdoor sports available this fall.
“We have worked closely with CHSAA to approve their request, issue guidelines and assist in creating a process that supports a return to football, field hockey and cheer,” Polis said Wednesday afternoon. “If the CHSAA board decides to add these sports to their fall calendars, it will be up to local school districts, administrators and parents to choose what is right for their communities. The state has approved these requests in order to empower all schools to make the choice that is right for them and their student-athletes.”
Parts of CHSAA’s board meeting were streamed live on the organization’s YouTube channel, including the official motion from Nate Smith, athletic director at Englewood High School, to move that the board accept the variance in fall sports that was approved by the COVID-19 task force and the ensuing vote.
The ‘yesses’ were an overwhelming majority — 12-3 was the call in favor.
“It’s been a battle and I thank each and every one of you,” CHSAA board president Troy Baker said. “The battle will continue but this is a starting point and let’s hope it’s returning to some level of normalcy and that we can give our kids some opportunities. And again, continue to forge ahead and hopefully things will only get better.”
“This board and this staff submitted proposals for all of the sports to resume, and the variances will now cover three,” commissioner Rhonda Blanford-Green added. “We will continue to advocate for the additional sports based on equity and the wants of our membership.”
Individual districts will now have to decide where their schools fall along the ‘readiness’ spectrum, and there was no direct mention of a start date for any districts who do want to move back to Season A. However, the rallying cry from all over the state was powerful enough that it’s a foregone conclusion many Colorado kids and coaches are ready to get back on the gridiron.
As Blanford-Green alluded to, indoor sports like gymnastics, and volleyball were not included as part of the motion. Also, boys soccer is slated to remain as a Season C sport. There may be more push in the coming days for other sports, continuing a months-long debate.
In August, the CHSAA announced that 2020 fall and winter sports excluding softball, cross country, boys golf and boys tennis would be pushed back to play modified seasons in the spring of 2021.
In early September, the CHSAA began working with Gov. Polis and his COVID-19 Response Team in order to find a way to reverse the original decision and bring football and other sports back for the fall season. The CHSAA board of directors voted not to adjust the fall sports schedule on Sept. 8.