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LHSAA: Football practice can start Aug. 3

Season to inevitably be adjusted

The smell of football has returned to the warm, Louisiana summer air.
The Louisiana High School Athletic Association (LHSAA) and Executive Director Eddie Bonine released a memo Monday evening informing member schools of its decision to keep the Aug. 3 permissive start date for football practice.
In the memo, Bonine stated that although the Governor extended Phase II until Aug. 7, which falls beyond the permissive start date, he decided to keep the start date after consulting with multiple groups and medical professionals.
However, Bonine did note that until Louisiana moved into Phase III and established a positive trend, the start of the regular football season would inevitably be adjusted. He also mentioned that he felt it was important that a communication was established with LHSAA member schools.
With teams allowed to start fall camps on Aug. 3, the use of shoulder pads will be allowed beginning Aug. 6 but with no contact.
In the memo, Bonine noted that the individual school/school systems may choose not to start on Aug. 3,
“Also know until Louisiana gets into Phase III and establishes a positive trend as it relates to the virus, the start of the regular football season, including but not limited to full contact, scrimmages, jamborees and eventually the beginning of interscholastic competitions will inevitably be adjusted,” Bonine said.
“All of us here at the LHSAA are very much aware of the challenges that lay ahead as you prepare to open schools in compliance with any/all minimum COVID-19 safety standards set forth by the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education on July 14. This all said, we felt it was imperative that a communication as such be sent to LSHAA member schools providing clear expectations in terms of equipment and activities allowable during Phase II.”
The following information is intended to highlight expectations for planning purposes:
Beginning Aug. 3:
• Allow the use of helmets and appropriate footwear only.
• Allow the use of hand shields and pop-up dummies.
• Allow the use of ball handling exchange drills.
• Allow the use of 7-on-7 intra-squad / no contact.
• Static groupings of 25 students (indoors and outdoors) are allowed.
• If a group convenes indoors, it must convene in a room enclosed by a wall or partition. This includes large rooms, such as a gymnasium or auditorium, which may include more than one group if each group is separated by a wall or partition.
• If groups convene outdoors, a physical barrier is not required, but each group must remain separated.
Summer rules expire Aug. 9.
When the state transitions into Phase III by order of the governor, all of the aforementioned expectations will remain with the addition of the use of sleds and groupings increased from 25 to 50.
Bonine has previously announced that the high school football season would not start until the state entered Phase IV of the reopening plan.

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