football stock photo

* Polk County student-athletes began summer conditioning Monday, June 15, at school facilities under new guidelines due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The spring sports season officially ended April 20 and that included the cancellation of spring football. The Polk County plan preceded last week’s FHSAA Board of Directors meeting, where new summer-conditioning guidelines included the requirement of schools to monitor heat stress readings with wet-bulb globe thermometers.

The first practice date regarding fall sports (football, bowling, cross country, golf, swimming, and girls volleyball) for the 2020-21 school year is July 27. This comes as Florida leaders call for schools to be fully open in the fall and the FHSAA (in addition to summer-workout considerations recommended by its Sports Medicine Advisory Committee) attempts to develop a strategic plan should the fall sports season start on time.

* The FHSAA Board of Directors approved a recommendation allowing football players to play six quarters per week instead of one game, as well as designating girls wrestling and sand volleyball official sports effective in the 2021-22 school year.

The new football rule will allow student-athletes to play a combined six quarters between the junior varsity and varsity levels in the same week. Under the policy, teams must apply for a waiver by Monday of the third week of the regular season and the FHSAA will make determinations based in part on a program’s history and roster size.

Girls wrestling has not only continued to gain support and popularity, but teams will also be eligible to compete in their own postseason series in 2021-22 as an officially sanctioned sport. Girls sand (beach) volleyball - which is one of the activities offered by the Sunshine State Athletic Conference - would become an FHSAA state championship sport in the spring of its second sanctioned season.

* Elsewhere at the FHSAA Board of the Directors meeting, Discovery High in Lake Alfred was one of five schools in the state recommended for full membership in 2020-21 having satisfied the conditions of provisional membership. Oasis Christian Academy in Winter Haven and Ridgeview Global Studies Academy in Davenport were accepted as application period members for the 2020-21 school year, while Winter Haven-based Akelynn’s Angels Christian Academy was denied application period membership for the upcoming school year.

* The Florida High School Athletic Association selected the 2020 Ronald N. Davis Scholar-Athletes of the Year on June 8. Aidan Williams of Bradenton Christian was selected the Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year among those selected to the Florida Dairy Farmers Academic All-State Team, which included All Saints Academy senior William Garcia (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill).

* Published reports revealed that the FHSAA is seeking a new home for the large-school football championships after a one-year stint in Daytona Beach. The 2020 small-school (Classes 1A-3A) finals will remain at Gene Cox Stadium in Tallahassee.