Mississippi moves start of high school football season to September 4

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The Mississippi High School Activities Association is moving the 2020 high school football season back by two weeks. Falls camps will open August 18 with the first games September 4.

Mississippi is the ninth state to officially move the start of the season from its originally scheduled date due to the coronavirus pandemic.

6A, 5A and 1A teams will play a ten games regular season schedule, while 4A, 3A, and 2A schools will play a nine game regular season schedule. The MHSAA will then play a full postseason with the state championships set for December 4-5.

Here are the other states that have delayed the beginning of the regular season as of July 13:

State – Proposed State Date

Arizona – September 11

Hawaii – PPD start of regular season, but no date yet

New Jersey – October 2

New Mexico – Season moved to Spring

Tennessee – PPD start of regular season, but no date yet

Vermont – PPD start of regular season, but no date yet

Washington – September 18

West Virginia – September 3

Below is the entire news release from the MHSAA:

The MHSAA Executive Committee voted Tuesday to delay the Fall sports calendar two weeks due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Practice for cross country, swimming and volleyball can begin August 10 with competition among schools permitted starting August 24.

Practice for football can begin August 17. Scrimmages between schools are allowed beginning September 4 with games starting September 11. The football playoff and championship dates are unchanged. Games scheduled for the first two weeks of the season will not be made up.

“The board felt these changes will give all of us more time to try to get back into the routine of school,” MHSAA Executive Committee President Kalvin Robinson said. “There are going to be many challenges — ones we’re anticipating and those we don’t even know about yet — in returning to on-campus learning. It’s going to be different than what we’ve experienced in the past. Hopefully pushing back the start of the Fall sports seasons will help make that transition a little smoother for everyone involved.”

MHSAA Executive Director Don Hinton supports the two-week delay as well as the board’s reasoning behind it.

“We believe this is the right decision at the right time,” Mr. Hinton said. “As we’ve said since last spring, this is an unprecedented and rapidly changing situation where new information can and will alter plans and schedules at any time.

“We’ve been in contact with officials from the Governor’s office and the Mississippi Department of Education. We’ve talked with sports administrators from Mississippi universities and community colleges as well as leaders from the National Federation (NFHS) and our neighboring state associations. All of us are looking for the best way to navigate these challenges and obstacles, but each us has our own challenges.

“For example, there’s been talk about the MHSAA flipping the fall and spring sports seasons or just moving fall sports — and specifically football — to the spring. But those changes would  create an entirely different set of challenges and logistical issues, including an overlap with athletes, coaches and game officials.

“As far as swapping the Fall and Spring seasons, we’ve heard from many coaches and administrators who feel it would be unfair to ask the coaches and sports cancelled in April to turn around and play with all the challenges we’ll be facing this fall.”

Despite those challenges, Mr. Hinton said the MHSAA will continue to make every effort to keep sanctioned sports and activities in place for the 2020-21 school year.

“We know how important these extracurricular activities are to the students, parents, families, schools and communities of our state,” Mr. Hinton said. “We’re staying optimistic and doing everything we can to move forward for the upcoming school year. We’re listening to and relying on the medical experts, government officials and school administrators who are working to manage this situation. This is something none of us has experienced before.”

No change to playoff dates
Class 1A, 5A, 6A will play 10 games
Class 2A, 3A, 4A will play 9 games

August 17Practice Begins
August 19Shells
August 24Full Gear
August 28Scrimmage (2 teams no jamboree; can be varsity and JV)
September 41st Game
October 30Last Game (2A, 3A, 4A)
November 61st Round Playoffs (2A, 3A, 4A)
Last Game (1A, 5A, 6A)
November 131st Round Playoffs (1A, 5A, 6A)
2nd Round Playoffs (2A, 3A, 4A)
November 202nd Round Playoffs (1A, 5A, 6A)
3rd Round Playoffs (2A, 3A, 4A)
November 27North State/South State (1A, 5A, 6A)
North State/South State (2A, 3A, 4A)
December 4State Championship
December 5State Championship

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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.