On July 22, the Alabama High School Athletic Association’s Central Board approved the AHSAA’s Return to Play Plan for fall sports.
At a press conference on July 23, AHSAA Executive Director Steve Savarese further detailed the plan to return to fall sports and rule modifications that are to be adopted during the fall.
In cross country, it’s encouraged that schools widen courses to six feet where feasible. In volleyball, the pre-match conference will be moved to center court and will include only coaches. The number of people sitting at the official’s table will also be limited.
In swimming and diving, athletes will be required to arrive at a competition already in competitive attire if social distancing is not possible in locker rooms. Also, the number of people at pre-meet conferences will be reduced.
For football, the players box on each sideline will be extended from the 10-yard line to the opposite 10-yard line to allow for social distancing among players and coaches. Timeouts will also be extended to two minutes to allow for sanitizing equipment where feasible and there will be only one team captain at the coin toss.
The time between quarters and after scores will also be extended to a maximum of two minutes.
Schools have the option to begin official fall practices on July 27 but can push that back if the school chooses to.
Also, teams that have to miss a game can forfeit without penalty or can attempt to reschedule the game if it is possible. Savarese said that at the end of the year those forfeitures could be expunged from the team’s record when it comes to playoff seeding.
The AHSAA put no limitation on how many fans can attend games but said that it would be up to each school district to make that decision. Also, the AHSAA has ruled that virtual students will be eligible to play sports but it will be up to the local schools to decide whether to allow it. Enterprise is currently prohibiting virtual students from playing sports.
There will be no restrictions on teams from outside states playing in Alabama. Enterprise was originally scheduled to host Miami Somerset Academy (Fla.) on Aug. 21 and travel to Navarre (Fla.) on Oct. 30 but both of those games have been canceled and EHS is currently searching for replacement opponents.
It will also be up to the local school systems whether to allow cheerleaders and the band to take part in games and whether or not schools use buses for road games. Savarese said that schools that do choose to use buses are encouraged to wear masks on the bus and have assigned seating. Also, the AHSAA has partnered with a ticket company that will provide a paperless option for schools to use so that physical tickets will not be required at games.
Coaches and officials are also encouraged to wear masks but it is not required.
All rule modifications can be viewed by visiting, https://www.ahsaa.com/2020-Fall-Sports-Rules-Modifications.