The Georgia High School Association announced on Wednesday it will allow intrasquad competitions beginning on Monday, according to an email obtained by AccessWDUN.
It was a definite bolt to the morale of players and coaches as it signals, perhaps, an on-time start of fall sports in Georgia.
"I'm pleased that we continue to take another step in the direction of getting back to normal," Gainesville Athletics Director Adam Lindsey said.
The GHSA has been the leader across the country with its phase-in process, which has allowed the state's athletes and coaches to slowly get back in the game. Just last week, the GHSA increased groups from 25 to 50 and sports-related equipment, including balls, were reintroduced.
Stan Lewis, Hall County director of communications and athletics, said they will increase group size to 50 except in the weight room. The system did not make the jump in group numbers last week.
"We told all our ADs to follow the protocols already in place, especially with the screening of the kids and the cleaning of the equipment," Lewis said. "We feel like this is move forward for everybody and we'll keep going from here."
GHSA Class 7A Board of Trustee representative and Forsyth County Director of Athletics Nathan Turner said he's pleased with the recent news.
"We appreciate the medical advisory council's willingness to consistently work with the GHSA to tackle this tough situation," Turner said. "It has been beneficial in these tough times, and we appreciate the new guidelines as we get to do more. It's not all the way, but it's another step in the right direction. We'll continue to monitor each kid and each coach to remain within the GHSA guidelines."
Nathan Turner, Class 7A GHSA board of trustee for the. Represents all Class 7A schools across the state.
In the new round of revised guidelines, programs can hold intrasquad scrimmages but competition between schools is illegal. Also in the revision, groupings can be reorganized -- if done safely. The revisions also allow cheerleading, softball and volleyball teams to hold tryouts.
Of course, all previous guidance and restrictions remain in place, except for the changes outlined above. The GHSA is encouraging athletes and coaches to wear masks and face-covering when possible but is not mandatory.
The announcement comes at a time when a hand full of states have delayed the opening of high school football. Tennessee announced Wednesday morning that it will not start football on time. New Jersey canceled the first week of the season. Arizona has postponed all of its summer activities to at least Aug. 17. In Michigan and Texas, they are discussing the possibility of flipping spring sports to fall and football and basketball to the spring.
AccessWDUN's Jeff Hart contributed to this story.