THOMASTON — The Georgia High School Association's Board of Trustees on Monday unanimously approved to keep a full football schedule in place, including a full five weeks of playoffs, but pushing back the start of the season to Sept. 4.
GHSA Executive Director Dr. Robin Hines said Monday's vote was a positive step.
"It is a positive move and I'm cautiously optimistic about things right now," he said. "But it's also still a fluid situation and we are constantly monitoring things as we move forward."
Hines also said that the move back two weeks will afford some systems that were behind due to COVID-19 issues the chance to catch up.
"This will give those systems that chance and have everyone on a level playing field as best as we can get them," Hines said. "There were starting to be some serious issues in relation to injuries and conditioning for some systems and we just felt this was the best for all our member schools. Everyone in the orgnization (GHSA) is going to do everything we can to make sure there is a season for the kids to play."
Forsyth County Athletics Director Nathan Turner, who is on the GHSA BOT, confirmed the vote and plan. The first plan, according to the BOT minutes, was to start the season on time but failed to pass with an 8-4 vote.
Turner agreed with Hines, saying it was all about acclimation for the student-athletes.
"As much as we want to talk about COVID, we are preparing for football season," Turner said. "But the acclimation of the football player has been the most important conversation and it all led around acclimation and how we go about that. So, we felt like the conditioning aspect along with programs that have been cut and shut down for 14 days due to COVID, that it would be in the best interest of the student-athletes to push back the season two weeks."
With the unanimous plan, the GHSA says teams across the state will be allowed to play their entire schedules as put together but beginning on Sept. 4 instead of Aug. 21.
As part of the plan, the season would end Dec. 28 with the state finals at Georgia State Stadium.
The governing body will keep the official start of fall practice on July 27, and all other fall sports will remain as scheduled on the current GHSA calendar.
(AccessWDUN will update this story as we receive new information.)