Colorado reverses its decision and will play high school football in 2020

colorado high school activities association
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The Colorado High School Activities Association is reversing its decision to play high school football in the Spring of 2021.

On Wednesday, the CHSAA Board of Directors voted in-favor of playing football in the Fall, instead of the Spring sports season. On August 9, the state’s governing body said it was moving high school football to 2021, because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Read: Colorado moves high school football moves to ’21

The CHSAA’s decision comes after Colorado Governor Jared Polis announced he would approve moving football back to 2020.

Read: Michigan reverses its decision and will play football in 2020

Here are the rules, set-up by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Safety, that will have to be followed:

  • 50 players per roster for football, or a total of 100 players on or around any field of play
  • All participants, including athletes, coaches, match officials, staff, and others, must wear masks while not actively playing or performing
  • All participants, including athletes, coaches, match officials, staff, and others, must be 6 feet apart from non-household members on the sidelines or while not in active play.
  • All participants, including athletes, coaches, match officials, staff, and others, must stay in their designated areas off the field of play, and may not go into spectator areas.
  • All participants, including athletes, coaches, match officials, staff, and others must wear
    masks and observe social distancing during transportation.

Individual schools will still be allowed to decide to play football in the Fall or Spring.

Various media reports state that the regular season games could begin by the end of September.

Below you can see the complete news release on the CHSAA website:

During a meeting on Wednesday night, the CHSAA Board of Directors voted to approve variances from the Governor’s COVID Response Team which will provide member schools with the local option to play field hockey, football and sideline spirit during the fall (Season A) season.

Schools will continue to have the option to play these sports in Season C, as previously upheld by the Board, if they elect not to play during Season A. The seasons will be treated equitably. Schools may not play in both seasons. This will allow local schools and districts to make the determination.

“I want to thank my colleagues on the Board,” Troy Baker, the president of the Board of Directors, and the athletic director at Buena Vista High School. “The CHSAA Board is charged to make the best decision for all kids in our state. We are a diverse state and many of our schools are faced with unique challenges that can elevate the complexity in making a decision that supports all schools and students.

“We are in a pandemic,” Baker said. “It’s not normal times. We’re all trying to find a way to navigate through it, with the hope of trying to find some normalcy in our lives. There isn’t a guide of how to do this.”

The Board met on Wednesday night to discuss the playing variances approved by the COVID-19 Response Team from the office of Gov. Jared Polis. The vote was 12-3 in favor of moving forward with those seasons.

According to the Governor’s public announcement, the CHSAA Board of Directors has empowered its member schools and school districts to determine if their teams are able to proceed with a fall (Season A) schedule in field hockey, football and sideline spirit safely under the guidelines set by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

“I would like to thank the CHSAA Board of Directors and the CHSAA staff for their commitment to reconsidering the options once the variances were provided to the CHSAA office. I would also like to thank our membership, who has been in this whirlwind as we sought a resolution,” said CHSAA Commissioner Rhonda Blanford-Green. “We look forward to continuing to work collaboratively with the Governor’s office to obtain variances for wrestling, swimming and other sports in Seasons B, C and D.”

A major factor in the Board’s decision was the approval of the variances, and the COVID Response Team’s approval that these sports could move forward in a safe manner, with all the recommended guidelines.

Specifically, these variances allow for 50 players, per sideline, to be on the field during a football game. In field hockey, the variance allows for 25 players per sideline, per game. Previously, these guidelines were 25 players, total.

Spirit roster size is based upon CHSAA classification maximums.

There are other restrictions that must be followed, per the variance:

  • All participants, including athletes, coaches, match officials, staff, and others, must wear masks while not actively playing, even outdoors. They must also be six feet apart from non-household members on the sidelines, or while not in active play. They may not go into the spectator area.
  • Spirit participants must perform off the field of play, and must be at least 25 feet away from participants and spectators at all times.

These sports have been conditionally approved. If a community falls out of compliance and enters Level 3 in the Safer at Home Public Health Order 20-35, the Colorado Department of Health has said the approval will be re-evaluated and may be rescinded.

Requested variances for the remaining fall sports — gymnastics, boys soccer, spirit, girls volleyball, and unified bowling — remain under consideration by the COVID Response Team.

Specifics about each season will be communicated to CHSAA member schools in a timely manner. The CHSAA staff will be working closely with our administrators and school districts to assist with implementing Season A changes in an expedited manner.

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About the Author

Jeff Fisher
Jeff is an award-winning journalist and expert in the field of high school sports, underscored with his appearance on CNBC in 2010 to talk about the big business of high school football in America. Jeff turned to his passion for high school football into an entrepreneurial venture called High School Football America, a digital media company focused on producing original high school sports content for radio, television and the internet. Jeff is co-founder and editor-in-chief of High School Football America, which is a media partner with USA TODAY High School Sports.