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'We’re playing this fall': KHSAA discusses upcoming season

Commissioner Julian Tackett said the state must follow CDC recommendations to get high school and college sports started this fall.

FRANKFORT, Ky. — While the Kentucky High School Athletic Association is discussing pushing its target date for the start of normal practices, KHSAA Commissioner Julian Tackett said the state still plans to have athletics in the fall.

"We're playing this fall," Tackett said during a board of control work session. "We're going to participate in athletics and activities this fall. We don't know what it's going to look like, but we're going to."

Tackett said "it does not appear wise" for KHSAA to accelerate activity in the coming weeks, instead keeping guidelines in place through July.

The board said Aug. 3 is the target date to start normal practices for most fall sports. Delays will likely impact the start of competition for sports like football, soccer, cross country, field hockey and volleyball.

Voluntary conditioning and workouts will continue through Aug. 2, though KHSAA said student-athletes are limited to six hours of workouts per week.

 Golf can start earlier, with practices July 15 and competition starting July 31.

Tackett also said the state must follow CDC recommendations to get high school and college sports started this fall.

"If our state wants high school sports, you’re going to have to do the CDC recommendations on masking, on distancing, on hand-washing," Tackett said. "You're openly saying, 'I don't want us to get back to normal as fast as we could when you defy it.'"

Gov. Beshear had a similar attitude during Friday's coronavirus press conference, saying people need to follow requirements for sports to restart.

"If you believe that you shouldn't have to wear a mask and you can walk around and if you're infected, it's everybody else's fault for coming into contact with you, you're destroying sports," Beshear said.

The governor also suggested officials require student-athletes to take COVID-19 tests when practices begin.

Tackett said that while nothing has been finalized, he believes "attendance is going to be limited" at events for the foreseeable future.

The board did say there could be impending changes, with Tackett calling all sports season this school year "unpredictable." He said they will make future decisions based on safety.

"Health is going to be first," Tackett said.

The KHSAA Board of Control can meet against to decide more recommendations before the start of the school year.

Fall sports, specifically football, has become a topic of national interest as states see a rise in COVID-19 cases. The Big Ten is moving to conference-only schedules this season while the superintendent of Dallas schools said Friday that he doubts there will be high school football in Texas this fall.

Closer to Kentucky, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said they will decide if high school football happens in the next 30 days.

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