An extension of Tennessee’s state of emergency to Aug. 29 by Governor Bill Lee on Monday has in all likelihood set back the start of high school football in that state by at least two weeks,
According to a Monday report by the Chattanooga News Free Press, Lee’s extension of the state of emergency is expected to delay the time when Tennessee high school football teams can practice in full pads or conduct full contact drills.
Prior to Lee’s executive order, the first high school football games in Tennessee were set to kick off on Aug. 21. The Tennessee Secondary Sports Athletic Association, which governs high school athletics in Tennessee, called a late Monday evening meeting in response to the governor’s order and expected to release its own statement some time on Tuesday.
Tennessee schools are now wrapping up the final week of a two-week dead period, during which time athletes are prohibited from working out with coaches or on school property. Workouts were set to begin on Monday, July 6 with the first day of full pads set for July 29.
In addition to proving disruptive to Tennessee high school football programs in general, the delay could indirectly affect high school football programs in neighboring states. In Northeast Tennessee, it has not been unusual for schools situated in border areas like Sullivan and Claiborne counties to schedule Virginia opponents.
At present, no Four Seasons Country high school football teams appear to be affected by developments in Tennessee.
The most heavily-attended football game in the region is the interstate Beaver-Graham game, which is slated to kick off the 2020 season at Mitchell Stadium in Bluefield.
So far, there have been no proclamations in either Virginia or West Virginia that would derail any previously scheduled interstate matchups.