Football playoffs get delayed start
The Kentucky High School Athletic Association notified member schools Saturday morning that the start of the football playoffs will be delayed one week in an effort to provide schools and school systems time to review their situations and work with their health departments to determine the best course of action.
The first round of the playoffs will now take place the weekend of Nov. 19-21 with no additional planned changes in the playoff structure for now.
In the meantime, schools and school systems should review site strategies, seating capacities, and all other facets of the likely contest(s) during this interim period and certainly remind students that what they do outside of practice and the game field can have a tremendous impact on themselves and those around them. It is highly advised that all levels of school administration be in on hosting decisions and use this interim time to play out various “what if” scenarios based on hopefully changing data.
“It goes without saying that we are in the midst of issues within our state and the current status of the pandemic. I have stated all along that decisions made by our office, at any point in time, would be done so in the best interest of student-athletes. While it may be a calculated strategic decision that in time, we feel was not the best path, we have to make decisions based on today’s information because tomorrow is so unknown,” said KHSAA Commissioner Julian Tackett. “This decision isn’t just about the few ongoing quarantines, it’s about 82 counties Friday being defined as “red” including the vast majority of the east. It’s about giving our schools time to deal with the issues around athletics which are not identical to the issues around the school day and as such, may need separate local discussions.
“One of the deciding factors in this situation is determining what course of action to take given today’s information, that we feel gives our students the best chance to have a postseason experience. We have been calculated and strategic throughout this process and will continue to do so during these extremely challenging times, with the students’ health and ability to participate both being at the forefront of our minds.”
As a result of the postseason delay, the following guidelines will be in place for member schools:
• The first round will begin with the weekend of Nov. 19-20-21.
• A reminder that teams are permitted to schedule contests this season after elimination (or withdrawal) HOWEVER THERE IS A MORATORIUM ON HOLDING GAMES THE WEEKEND OF NOVEMBER 11/12-13-14. NO CONTESTS SHOULD BE SCHEDULED THIS WEEK.
• The bracket builder for 2020 is again listed online at https://bit.ly/37Tg5SO but should be considered a draft at this point due to withdrawals.
• Teams may voluntarily withdraw from the playoffs without penalty using the FB144 form.
• If a seeded team withdraws and other district teams remain in the alignment, those teams not qualifying from earlier from within that district will be given an opportunity to enter the bracket.
• If there are withdrawals during the process, the bracket pod (district) will be re-seeded up to a point, after which the withdrawal will simply create a bye. We need to give schools at least a couple of days to sort out current situations. The status of the statistics around the virus will drive that “point” which will be announced early this coming week. Setting artificial deadlines and boundaries has not worked with this virus and the data around it to this point.
The review will be ongoing as it has been all along, and it is possible substantial changes could be made as needed in future days and weeks.