SCHSL fall sports to begin later, seasons remain in place


(WSPA) – High School football and other fall sports will remain in their normal seasons, but with a later start this year.

The South Carolina High School League Executive Committee voted 14-2 Wednesday morning on the SCHSL proposal to push back the start of the fall seasons by roughly two weeks.

Under the approved plan, the first football games will be played September 11th. With no interruptions, football playoffs would begin on October 30th.

No fall sports competition can begin prior to September 1st or as late as October 2nd.

If there are extended delays to beginning the fall season, SCHSL commissioner Jerome Singleton says that September 21st would be a key date to determine a path forward.

For now, preseason practices are moved from a start date of July 30th to August 17th. Under the SCHSL plan, the fall season would end November 20th.

Off season, in-person workouts can also continue, remaining in their first phase.

Singleton notes that his plan emphasizes flexibility and the newly desired end date for the fall season provides a two-week buffer from the normal final weekend of fall competition in the event of catastrophic weather delaying the season.

Essentially, the league recognizes the fluidity of the situation and will have a two-week rolling window to push back start dates if necessary, according to Singleton.

The SCHSL plan is for teams to play region opponents at first, although there is the option to add non-region games as the season progresses. All regions do not have the same number of schools. Some have schools that don’t compete in football.

For football, this will mean a maximum seven-game season for teams followed by playoffs.

Schools that don’t make the playoffs are allowed to add an additional game, thus giving them an eight-game season (as playoff teams would thus play a minimum of eight games).

The league sent out a survey to principals, superintendents, and athletic directors throughout the state to get their input about the 2020-21 athletic calendar. Singleton noted in the meeting they used that data to help formulate their plan.

Singleton acknowledged in the meeting the complexities of each school district’s overall attendance decisions relative to athletics. The SCHSL plan abides by the notion that schools will be in session in some form, either in-person or through virtual classes. Singleton said schools that are going to all-virtual classes at the beginning of year can still field teams as long as their district allows it.

Singleton notes that starting competition prior to South Carolina governor Henry McMaster’s Wednesday proclamation of a September 8th start date for the school year would not be unusual.

A proposal by Lexington District One to move football and other fall sports to the spring and play spring sports like baseball in the fall was rejected by a 16-1 vote of the Executive Committee.

A request by Greenville County Schools superintendent Burke Royster that all current in-person off season workouts be suspended was denied by a 13-1 vote. Greenville halted such workouts in late June.

Singleton noted a move to allow balls to be used during the off season workouts (a phase 1.5) could happen within the next two weeks.Meanwhile, North Carolina’s high school governing body has informed its schools that fall practices can begin on September 1st.  They have not been given clarity on when games can begin, according to a North Carolina prep coach.


First Game: September 11th (Begin with Region play)
Maximum Regular Season Games: 7
Playoffs Start: October 30th
State Finals: November 20th

Girls’ Tennis and Volleyball:

First Contest: August 31st (Begin with Region play)
Playoffs Start: October 19th
State Finals: October 31st

Swim and Girls’ Golf:

First Contest: August 31st
Swim State Finals: October 10th and 12th
Girls’ Golf Qualifiers: October 19th
Girls’ Golf State Finals: October 26th and 27th

Cross Country:

First Contest: August 31st
Qualifiers: Week of November 2nd – 7th
State Finals: Week of November 9th – 14th

Competitive Cheer:

First Contest: September 12th
Upper/Lower Qualifiers: Week of November 2nd – 7th
State Finals: Week of November 9th – 14th

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