KHSAA approves plan for fall sports


Members of the Harlan County football team went through workouts earlier this summer.

The Kentucky High School Athletic Association Board of Control approved a plan Tuesday for a fall sports season, including football, cross country, soccer and volleyball.

The regular season for football will be Sept. 11, and a nine-week regular season will conclude on Nov. 6 under the approved plan. The playoffs will be for five weeks beginning a week later on Nov. 13. The state finals are set for Dec. 11-12 at Kroger Field.

“Obviously, with the uptick of what’s going on in our state, we have to be wise to current events, and yet just like most of you in your school decisions, you’re striking a balance all the time,” KHSAA Commissioner Julian Tackett said. “I think we have heard from a huge portion of the public. And I’ll tell you that the opinions have been running about 9-to-1 in favor of going ahead and doing something. … in the literally hundreds and over 1,000 e-mails that I’ve gotten — or calls, messages or texts — (are) about the opportunity to participate, even if that opportunity is reduced this year.”

“It definitely looks as if the KHSAA is trying every way possible for football to happen,” Harlan coach Eric Perry said. “I’m sure there very well could be hiccups along the way. No matter what they decided, they were not gonna make everyone happy. I’m really excited for those seniors across the state who are not going on to play in college and are now gonna get that opportunity to strap it on one more time.”

“Given the uncertainty of what was coming down today, I am tickled to death that the KHSAA voted to give our kids the opportunity to have their fall football season,” Harlan County coach Eddie Creech said. “Even though it is a later start, we can pick one of those regular season games up on the back end.”

To help with social distancing guidelines, teams will have a limit of players in uniform. Football is limited to 60 players, followed by 15 for volleyball, 24 for soccer, 10 for cross country, and 24 in field hockey.

Events, such as tournaments and showcases, will be limited to eight teams in baseball, basketball, field hockey, softball, and volleyball. The season for competitive cheer and dance begins on Aug. 24 and the board advises that activity be limited to the outdoors. Member schools may only play teams located in the state or a county that borders Kentucky.

Tackett said the consensus he has gathered is most favor having fall sports, even with a reduced schedule and that’s what the board of control approved during a special meeting Tuesday morning. He added that the KHSAA has to be “flexible” with its scheduling because of the rise of COVID-19 cases in the state.

Although this plan is in place, Tackett said that anything can change as the state and country are still dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We have to be ready to pivot at a moment’s notice,” he said.

The Board of Control will have another meeting on Aug. 20 at 10:30 a.m. to examine coronavirus numbers ahead of the start of fall sports practices on Aug. 24.

The the first three weeks of the regular season have been canceled, but a week was added to the end of the regular season schedule. Teams can also fill in open dates if an opponent is found. The local football schedules for 2020 after updates from today include:

Harlan County
Sept. 11 at Knox Central
Sept. 18 Wayne County
Sept. 25 Clay County
Oct. 2 at Letcher Central
Oct. 9 Hazard
Oct. 16 Johnson Central
Oct. 23 at Perry Central
Oct. 30 Bell County
Nov. 6 at Montgomery County


Sept. 11 Middlesboro
Sept. 18 at East Ridge
Sept. 25 at Berea
Oct. 2 Knott Central
Oct. 9 at Williamsburg
Oct. 16 Lynn Camp
Oct. 23 Pineville
Oct. 30 at Leslie County
Nov. 6 Open