High school football, girls’ soccer and wrestling will not start on time in the state of Tennessee.
The Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association (TSSAA) released a memo Tuesday from its Executive Director, Bernard Childress, detailing the reasoning, which follows Governor Bill Lee’s decision to uphold the State of Emergency order in Tennessee until August 29th due to the coronavirus.
The Governor’s order, which limits gatherings of people to 50 or fewer and limits contact between athletes, was released on Monday.
The Dickson County High School football team, led by first-year head coach Greg Burns, was set to kick off on August 21, just eight days prior to that expiration date.
For Burns and Creek Wood coach Houston Thiel, as well as coaches for other sports across the state, they have already navigated social distancing and small groups in practice, working in groups of no more than 10.
When the TSSAA-mandated Dead Period lifts on July 6, that work will continue for the Cougars, Red Hawks and teams across the state.
With a guaranteed delay to start the season, though, that work will resume with no definite end in sight.
“I think we’ve been sort of mentally preparing ourselves for the possibility of this,” Burns said. “Just letting it sink in.. it’s a little disappointing, of course.”
“We’re sort of at the discretion of the governor making a decision,” Burns continued. “We’re delayed, we don’t know when, we don’t know for how long, but we do know that we’re not going to start on time on the 21st.”
Thiel reiterated Burns’ statement, albeit with an added aura of positivity.
“It’s all about how you approach it,” Thiel said. “I’m just trying to find the light and the possibilities that are out there. It’s going to be how you react and adapt to it.”
“Everybody wants to play,” Burns added. “The kids want to play, the coaches want to coach… the fans and the community want to watch a game,”