At a special called meeting Thursday, the Greenville Public School District board of trustees made the decision to table the resumption of fall sports and activities until its next regular board meeting.
The Mississippi High School Activities Association’s Executive Committee voted Tuesday to delay all fall sports two weeks.
Football practice is now scheduled to begin Aug 17; first matches for volleyball and cross country can start by Aug. 24.
GPSD athletic director Michael Banks informed the board of the MHSAA’s decision and what it meant for the possibility of fall sports.
Board president Doris Thompson and other trustees sought clarity from Banks on how football players, in particular, would be able to practice and play games while adhering to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) safety guidelines.
“We know you can’t play football without touching, so how do you practice without touching?” trustee Shirley Cartlidge asked.
Banks explained during the first weeks of football activity, it would only entail conditioning and players getting into shape, which would not require direct contact.
“Once we get all that done, we have a 14-day activation period and at that point, they will begin to gradually get into touching and hitting,” he shared.
Banks yielded to GPSD head football coach Quintaurus McCray to provide further clarification on the logistics of an actual game and the preparation leading up to a scheduled game.
McCray emphasized to the board the significance of moving forward with a season, but doing so safely.
“We had to watch a video about social distancing and tackling; most of the tackling now is supposed to be on the legs and we’re supposed to buy tights for the kids to wear (during practice),” McCray said.
He shared the board’s sentiments that being 100% safe may not be the case in resuming fall sports, but he also shared his players’ sentiments.
“It would give our kids an opportunity,” McCray highlighted, “I have maybe six seniors on the verge of getting scholarships this year.”
Thompson said although she wants sports to resume, the pressing question she is concerned about is, “Why would we play football but yet, close all the parks, all the clubs and everything?”
McCray pointed out his notice of the lack of independent workouts taking place, which is another reason for his advocacy of resuming fall sports.
Cartlidge asked if any parents had expressed any reluctance as it pertains to their kids’ participation in football.
McCray said none of the parents he’s talked to have expressed such.
The board also heard from GPSD band director Antoinette Cox who shared the guidelines for the band as it relates to social distancing.
Cox said it actually works out in the band’s favor when it comes to distancing because the various sections are separated the majority of the time.
With much to consider, a decision was not made on the matter of GPSD resuming fall sports and activities.