In a press conference Tuesday afternoon, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee announced that he will sign Executive Order No. 55, which will include TSSAA member schools in an exception to contact sports restrictions.

“We appreciate being able to work with Gov. Lee and his staff on this,” said Bernard Childress, Executive Director of the TSSAA. “I am pleased that we were able to develop some very specific guidelines for every sport that will allow our kids to get out on their fields and fully participate in football and girls’ soccer this fall.”

Although contact practice is now permissible, the regulations and requirements for practice and competition adopted by the Board of Control at their July 22 meeting are still in place for all sports and must be followed.

“Children across the state are counting on us — school administrators and coaches — to proceed with practices and competitions safely while being very mindful of the requirements and modifications that we have put in place,” Childress added. “Our return to play is a partnership, and it’s important for everyone to do their part.”

Once the order is signed, contact may take place in girls’ soccer practice. The Date of First Contest remains as originally scheduled, Aug. 17, with the state championships to be held Oct. 28-31 in Murfreesboro.

Football teams were allowed to begin heat acclimatization on July 20th. Each athlete must complete heat acclimatization (2 days of helmets only, 3 days in helmets and shoulder pads) before practicing in full equipment, which is now permitted.

No changes to the 2020 football schedule, regular season or otherwise, will be made. The contingency plan for football passed by the Board of Control last week stated that if contact practice could resume prior to Aug. 4, then no contests would be rescheduled. Therefore, the Date of First Contest for football remains as Aug. 21 with state championships Dec. 3-5 in Cookeville.

“This is good news for many kids and their families,” Childress added, “but the reality is that the virus will continue to be with us and we have to be smart about taming the spread. Every adult and every participant in every sport must do their part and follow the guidelines set forth by TSSAA and the Governor’s office to help mitigate these risks.”

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