Given the go-ahead from Governor Jared Polis and Colorado High School Activities Association commissioner Rhonda Blanford-Green, the CHSAA Board of Directors voted 12-3 on Wednesday night to reinstate the Colorado high school football season for the fall.
With fall football back on the table for Season A, the decision whether to have football and cheer in the fall or spring has now seemingly been passed on to individual district and school athletic directors, as well as local health agencies. On Thursday afternoon, Boulder County Public Health gave its approval for local schools to resume playing football as soon as this month.
After receiving approval, St. Vrain Valley School District athletic director Chase McBride said the schools in his district had all committed to have football and cheer in the fall.
“With the governor and CHSAA starting the process of providing opportunities for fall athletes, we’ve worked with our local health agencies to provide our kids with the opportunity to play,” McBride said. “As long as we’ve been given the option for fall athletes and cheer, we’re going to do what we can to provide those opportunities. We’ll continue to work with our local health officials to make sure we’re doing everything as safely as possible.
“We met as a group of principals and athletic directors and we decided that one of the staples of the St. Vrain is to offer extracurricular activities so we’re going to move forward and all of the schools in the St. Vrain will have football and cheer and dance in Season A.”
Schools have until 8 a.m. on Monday to declare which season they will participate in.
As for the Boulder Valley School District, district athletic director Michele DeBerry said the decisions have been left up to the individual BVSD schools. She added that she met with athletic directors and football coaches today and expects declarations to come on Friday or possibly even into the weekend.
“Our five schools are all in such different circumstances, leagues, etc., so they need to assess what’s best for their programs and their communities,” DeBerry said. “I think most of them will make a decision either (Friday) or over the weekend. I would expect we’ll have some in Season A and maybe one or two in the Season C.”
Holy Family has not yet made a decision but athletic director Ben Peterson said the school was leaning towards playing in Season A as of Thursday evening. Prospect Ridge athletic director Ellie Kempfe also said her school as not yet made a decision and is waiting for more information from its league football meeting on Friday, though the Miners are leaning towards declaring for the fall as well.
“We’re working with our community and trying to make sure that everyone is where they want to be in order to feel confident about a decision,” Peterson said. “We’re collecting data now so we’ll probably make a decision this weekend.”
The start of football practice will now be on Sept. 24 and the first game of the season will be on Oct. 8. CHSAA has taken over scheduling for football and teams will play a six-plus-one season, which means all teams will play a six-game regular season and teams that don’t qualify for the eight-team postseason will have the opportunity to schedule a seventh game in Week 1 or Week 2 of the postseason.
Season C will run from Feb. 25 to May 8 and both seasons will be treated equitably, according to the CHSAA. Season structure will be identical for both campaigns and a champion will be crowned both in the fall and in the spring.
Schools have been sent COVID-specific guidelines and will continue to receive further information about restrictions. Schools under the umbrella of Boulder County Health must require all players and attendees to wear masks, but no stadium capacity number had been distributed to schools as of Thursday.
On Sept. 21, there is a town hall meeting to discuss whether or not to go back to a hybrid model and McBride added that the SVVSD will explore options for potentially resuming other sports should they get approval from CHSAA and the Governor’s COVID-19 Response team.
“If opportunities from the governor and CHSAA are provided, we’ll explore all our options for offering those sports too,” McBride said.
There are still other issues to tackle like how to manage the logistics involved in multiple teams sharing a district stadium and what guidelines will be followed when teams travel to play at schools in different counties that are operating under their own guidelines.
But for now, it looks like high school football will return to the BoCoPreps.com area. And soon.