UPDATE: Bonine Discusses Oct. 8 Football Start Date; Addresses Other Sports

by Hunter Bower // GeauxPreps.com Owner

If you were clinging to the hope of having a high school football season in Louisiana, your wishes have come true. However, it will look a bit different.

Wednesday, LHSAA Executive Director Eddie Bonine addressed the media and announced that the 2020 football season will still happen but will be delayed until October 8, should Phase III of the state’s reopening plan be reached with no delays.

Bonine noted that this is an ever-changing situation and what happens on one day could very well change the outlook of the next. He noted that the high school level does not follow what state universities and what other state associations decide may not be the best course of action for Louisiana.

In addition, should the season start on the projected Oct. 8 date, schools would begin the season by facing off against scheduled Week 3 opponents and working their way through a condensed regular season schedule. 

However, there could be additional changes depending how long it takes to get into Phase III.

Bonine stated during the call that for football to happen Louisiana needs to see 10-14 days within Phase III plus a decline in positive cases. It would be at that point where collision sports could begin participating in hitting drills. Another 21 days would need to pass along with positive progression to get the players ready for an interscholastic contest. 

So even though the LHSAA hopes for an eight-game regular season schedule as the best scenario, there are also options on the table for six and seven game calendars as well.

Also, depending on how far the season could be pushed back, the number of playoff participants may be reduced to help accommodate the games needed to get to the Prep Classic in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

Bonine mentioned that if all goes right, teams could get the chance to participate in a scrimmage/jamboree in early October, possibly the week before the new proposed start.

Other notes that came from the Zoom meeting were that local officials and possibly state officials have the final decision when it comes to allowing attendance to sporting events.

Other fall sports such as volleyball will be pushed back a week to Sept. 8, while cross country and swimming are scheduled to start on time. 

In a meeting with representatives from the select schools last Monday, the LHSAA offered to allow both public and private schools to play state championships at one venue on the same weekend. The select school representatives unanimously agreed and have sent a survey out to fellow select institutions ask for their opinion on the matter.

The announcement comes less than 24 hours after Governor Jon Bel Edwards extended Phase II of Louisiana’s reopening plan for three more weeks Tuesday all but ensuring a delayed start to high school sports this fall.

The decision to remain in Phase II extended the date to at least August 28, the same week originally scheduled for the LHSAA’s football and volleyball jamborees.