LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - High school football and four other sports in Kentucky received the green light for a 2020 fall season Thursday. After more than an hour of discussion, the Kentucky High School Athletic Association Board of Control voted to stick with its plan to allow competition for fall sports next month.
Coaches are thrilled that practices begin Monday, but aren't ready to celebrate just yet. Jefferson County Control board members were among those arguing for delaying fall sports a few more weeks to the end of September.
More than 9,000 people watched the Zoom live stream of Thursday's meeting. From parents to players everyone wanted confirmation.
“Players, relatives, and family members,” said Josh Abell, the head football coach at Fern Creek High School.
Abell said he and everyone he knows were hanging on every word of the meeting.
With a 16-2 vote, practices for football, soccer, volleyball, field hockey and cross country can begin Aug. 24. With the exception of football, competitions will begin Monday, Sept. 7. Football games can be played starting Friday, Sept. 11.
The plan now needs final approval from Gov. Andy Beshear and the Department for Public Health. The Jefferson County Public Schools said they want also want the Kentucky Department of Education to weigh in.
"At Central, we've been doing 90 minutes, four days," said Marvin Dantzler, the Yellowjackets head football coach.
Dantzler and Fern Creek's Abell have been limited to six conditioning hours a week this summer. They hope JCPS will be with the KHSAA but said they understand the district is looking at safety first. However, the coaches maintain COVID-19 isn't their only health worry. The coaches say with so much violence in our city, the kids face other serious threats to their health when they don't have the structure of sports.
“I know if we are practicing for two hours a day, that means they are not out there on the streets messing around and getting involved in drugs, guns or violence,” Abell said.
Dantzler agreed football provides a way to keep kids out of trouble.
"The way I can tell Johnny to get ready, or you're not going to play St. X, what do I tell them now? How do I stop him from being out on the streets at 1 or 2 o'clock in the morning now?" Dantzler asked. "Because he doesn't have anything I could really hold him to."
JCPS wants to wait to hear back from state officials before deciding if they need to call a special meeting.
You can watch a replay of the KHSAA Board of Control meeting in the video player below.