The LHSAA executive committee not only unanimously approved a plan to move forward with football contact drills in Phase 2 on Wednesday. The committee also voted in favor of teams beginning contact drills Thursday in an effort to move the season up one week.
The LHSAA is now targeting Oct. 1 as the first week of the 2020 football season, Robin Fambrough of the Baton Rouge Advocate reported. This would allow 32 teams in non-select postseason play, as the original Oct. 8 start plan had only 16 teams beginning the playoffs on Dec. 4. In the original plan, the quarterfinals would be played on Dec. 11 and the semifinals would follow on Dec. 18, placing the Superdome Prep Classic on Christmas weekend.
Pushing the start of the season up a week — each team would still play eight regular season games — keeps that target date for championship games in New Orleans.
Dr. Greg Stewart of Tulane offered his medical advice throughout the LHSAA executive meeting in Baton Rouge and stated the importance of getting football players acclimated to the heat. He also stated that if players have conditioned for a month, contact acclamation can be reduced to 10-14 days instead of 21, which was originally recommended.
Stewart and LHSAA executive director Eddie Bonine are working on a document that would contain COVID-19 guidelines for schools to follow this football season.
Bonine noted he still believed high school stadiums should be at 50-percent capacity this football season. He also stated there would be no penalty for any school that says they cannot play football this year.