Fall sports to open practices 8/17

COLUMBIA – Fall sports in South Carolina are still on track to begin formal practice Aug. 17, even after the South Carolina High School League heard an appeal of its July 15 decision on the matter from the Lexington 1 School District July 22.

On that day, the High School League’s appellate panel heard Lexington 1’s alternate plan, then after a lengthy discussion opted to table a decision on the fall season until Aug. 10. In the meantime, the panel stated the High School League’s fall plan that was decided July 15 would remain in effect.

“A lot of things were considered, but we kept going back to the more flexible way,” SCHSL Commissioner Jerome Singleton said after the July 15 decision to open practices after Aug. 17. “It’s the better chance we’ve got at making these sports available. What we didn’t want to do is move a sport and find out we can’t play it … So we thought with flexibility where we can keep it as normal as possible, but we can make adjustments as we go along.”

Lexington 1’s plan, argued before the League’s appeal committee July 22, would have traditional spring sports play in the fall, such as baseball, softball, and boys and girls lacrosse. Close-contact sports played in the fall, such as Football, volleyball and competitive cheer would begin in January. The appellate panel heard from River Bluff Athletic Director David Bennett and Lexington 1 Superintendent Greg Little on the revised plan. The High School League was represented by attorney Becky Laffitte, who criticized the Lexington 1 plan as without documentation and refuted Lexington 1’s inferences that the league had not taken safety into consideration. 

Rather than make a conclusive decision on the appeal, the committee opted to meet Aug. 10 to make its decision then.

If the committee decides in favor of Lexington 1’s spring-sports-in-fall plan, those sports would have seven days to prepare to hit the practice fields.

If the committee denies the appeal, football, volleyball, competitive cheer can practice Aug. 17 with a limited fall season that opens after Labor Day weekend.

Regarding fall sports attendance, Richland District 2 has not announced a plan to accommodate crowds—if any—in the COVID-19 era.

“Attendance of games in the fall season is going to depend on additional information,” District spokesperson Ishmael Addus-Sabor said in a phone interview Friday. “As it stands, crowd attendance almost has to be restricted. We don’t know yet exactly what that’s going to look like.”

As of Monday, Richland 2 athletics has begun summer workouts.