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School districts or schools that choose to cancel games or seasons in the upcoming fall sports season due to the coronavirus pandemic will not be penalized, according to the South Carolina High School League executive committee.
In a Zoom meeting on Wednesday, the executive committee ruled that schools that choose to cancel contests or seasons due to the pandemic will not face any penalties. Sumter School District has yet to allow its fall sports student-athletes at Sumter, Crestwood and Lakewood high school to participate in weightlifting and conditioning workouts, which began in early June. As of Wednesday, there were no plans in place for a startup.
SCHSL Commissioner Jerome Singleton said that once the season starts, whether or not to continue is a local decision for districts and schools.
"Each school can determine, no matter what the league has in place, that they will not or cannot play," he said. "There's no penalty for that."
East Clarendon began workouts on June 8 and has continued them ever since. Manning and Scott's Branch began workouts only to stop them when positive tests for the coronavirus increased significantly.
The SCHSL gave itself some more wiggle room in regards to starting the football season in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. However, some of the other fall sports will have an earlier starting date, while one will actually start regular competition after the proposed start time for football.
The start of practice for the football season was pushed back from a previously proposed time of Aug. 17 to Sept. 8 in a unanimous vote by the SCHSL's executive committee on Wednesday. The date of the first possible game was moved from Sept. 11 to Sept. 25.
As far as the other fall sports, girls golf, swimming and girls tennis can hold its first practice on Aug. 17. Each can hold scrimmages starting on Aug. 24, and the first-regular season contest can be held beginning on Aug. 31.\Girls Golf: Aug. 17 first practice; Aug. 24 first scrimmage; Aug. 31 first contest; Oct. 19 playoffs/qualifiers; Oct. 26-27 finals.
Cross country and volleyball can begin practice on Aug. 24 with the first day for scrimmages Aug. 31 and the first day for regular-season competition Sept. 7.
Competitive cheer can begin practice on the same day at football, Sept. 8, but it won't have its first contest until Oct. 13.
The new football plan calls for a 7-game regular season, with the playoffs starting Nov. 13 and the state finals set for Dec. 4-5. The 7-week schedule has been put in place to assure each school gets to play a full region schedule. The playoffs have been cut down to four rounds, meaning 16 instead of 32 teams will make the playoffs in each of the five classifications.
The teams that don't make the playoffs will have an option of scheduling one more game, but it will need to be played by Nov. 20.
For football, players can wear helmets as part of their conditioning workouts as of Aug. 17. First practices are set for Sept. 8, with full pads allowed on Sept. 10 and first scrimmages on Sept. 12. Teams are allowed two scrimmages, and one jamboree can be substituted for a scrimmage.
All football players must go through two days in helmets, two days in shoulder pads and one day in full gear before participating in a scrimmage, jamboree or game.
The latest football season can start and still have four rounds of playoffs is Oct. 2, according to Singleton.
The executive committee's vote came after Lexington School District One officials dropped an appeal of their previously rejected plan that would have moved football season to the spring. The appeal was supposed to be heard by the SCHSL appellate committee next week.
Girls Golf: Aug. 17 first practice; Aug. 24 first scrimmage; Aug. 31 first contest; Oct. 19 playoffs/qualifiers; Oct. 26-27 finals.
Swim: Aug. 17 first practice; Aug. 24 first scrimmage; Aug. 31 first contest; Oct. 10 and 12, finals.
Girls tennis: Aug. 17 first practice; Aug. 24 first scrimmage; Aug. 31 first contest; Oct. 19, playoffs/qualifiers; Oct. 31 finals
Cross country: Aug. 24 first practice; Aug. 31 first scrimmage; Sept. 7 first contest; Oct. 30-31 qualifiers; Nov. 6-7, finals.
Volleyball: Aug. 24 first practice; Aug. 31 first scrimmage; Sept. 7 first contest; Oct. 27 playoffs; Nov. 4-7 finals.
Competitive cheer: Sept. 8 first practice; Sept. 14 first scrimmage; Oct. 13 first contest; Dec. 7-12 playoffs/qualifiers; Dec. 15-19 finals.
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