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LHSAA clears hurdles to keep pace for early October football start

1 month 3 weeks 5 days ago Friday, September 04 2020 Sep 4, 2020 September 04, 2020 4:15 PM September 04, 2020 in Sports
Source: WBRZ - TV

A flurry of emails, calls and texts from parents helped spur state legislators into action potentially saving the start of high school football in Louisiana set for the weekend of October 8-10.

The House Education Committee convened on Friday morning at the State Capital building to work with and to hear from LHSAA executive Eddie Bonine regarding the start to the high school football season.

Concerned parents started a grass roots campaign to ensure the start to the high school football season when Governor John Bel Edwards extended phase 2 of the state COVID-19 restrictions.

Those concerns along with action from state officials helped the LHSAA clear two hurdles that could have prevented them from greenlighting the start of full contact practices for football and the on-time start of the season.

The first hurdle was overcome with the help of Rep. Buddy Mincey Jr., from Denham Springs, who sought out an opinion from State Attorney General Jeff Landry on liability concerns that were in place due to Act 9 for the LHSAA and high schools who want to play football.

Landry’s office issued an opinion that schools would have immunity as long as “they do not violate their own policies, rules or regulations, or that of their governing authority.”

Landry’s opinion also further clarified that current rules in place by Louisiana’s Board of Elementary and Secondary Education do not restrict the start of high school football contests.

Mr. Bonine also noted that the Governor’s restructuring of phase limitations will not dictate how and when high school athletics will proceed.

Bonine will now meet with the executive committee of the LHSAA on Sept. 9 to discuss the procedures for ensuring an on time start of the high school football season, including a return to full-contact practices and a three week ramp-up period needed before scrimmages and jamborees.

Bonine assured the Committee that his group would approve measures for a return to football and will also utilize neighboring states protocols to formulate a plan for Louisiana teams navigating this season amid the pandemic.

While the recommendations and requirements will not in place until after the LHSAA executive committee meets on Wednesday, topics such as stadium capacity (expected to be at 50% based on a recommendation from the state fire marshal), temperature checks and contact tracing were all discussed.

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