Gov. Lee allows contact sports

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Tyler Wilbanks and TJ Arnold of CCHS Football battle it out in the evening heat during lineman drills on August 3. All Photos By Kendall Patterson

Tennessee Governor Bill Lee recently signed Executive Order No. 55, allowing the resumption of contact sports and extending local authority to require masks, among other provisions.
“Athletics is an important part of our way of life and provides many benefits for our student-athletes, but common-sense precautions must be taken to combat COVID-19,” said Gov. Lee. “We have worked directly with the TSSAA to coordinate a framework so that football season and soccer seasons can begin while keeping student-athletes, staff, and fans safe.
“This order will also continue to give local governments the authority to determine mask requirements for their respective constituencies. Adopting mask requirements at the local level has helped achieve greater community buy-in as Tennesseans adopt a new habit to protect lives and livelihoods.”
“We appreciate being able to work with Gov. Lee and his staff on this,” said Bernard Childress, Executive Director of the TSSAA. “I am pleased that we were able to develop some very specific guidelines for every sport that will allow our kids to get out on their fields and fully participate in football and girls’ soccer this fall.”
The date of first contest remains as originally scheduled for girls soccer, Aug. 17, with the state championships to be held Oct. 28-31 in Murfreesboro.
Football teams were allowed to begin heat acclimatization on July 20th. Each athlete must complete heat acclimatization (2 days of helmets only, 3 days in helmets and shoulder pads) before practicing in full equipment, which is now permitted.
No changes to the 2020 football schedule, regular season or otherwise, will be made. The contingency plan for football passed by the Board of Control last week stated that if contact practice could resume prior to Aug. 4, then no contests would be rescheduled. Therefore, the Date of First Contest for football remains as Aug. 21 with state championships Dec. 3-5 in Cookeville.
“This is good news for many kids and their families,” Childress added, “But the reality is that the virus will continue to be with us and we have to be smart about taming the spread. Every adult and every participant in every sport must do their part and follow the guidelines set forth by TSSAA and the Governor’s office to help mitigate these risks.”

Samantha Gonzalez of the CCJHS Girls Soccer team takes a shot toward the goal during the team’s first practice that contact was allowed.
Katie Looney of the CCHS Volleyball team serves the ball during practice on July 29.
Briley Thomas of CCHS Volleyball passes the ball during practice on July 29.
Peyton Griswell of CCHS Girls Soccer makes a pass during passing drills during soccer practice on Monday August 3.