Could the coronavirus pandemic mean that high school football gets delayed to 2021 in the state of Texas?
Dallas Independent School District superintendent Michael Hinojosa told NBC News that he has serious doubts that the football season can go on as scheduled.
“That’s a true contact sport, I don’t see how we can pull that off,” Hinojosa told NBC on Thursday. “There’s been some discussion of moving it to the spring, but we’ll have to wait and see. I seriously doubt that we can pull that off.”
The University Interscholastic League runs high school football in the state of Texas. It told NBC in a statement that it currently plans on playing football in the fall. Hinojosa would not officially be part of the UIL’s decision-making process to move football to the spring.
But he’s also the superintendent of one of the largest school districts in the country in the most football-obsessed state in the U.S. He likely has others across the state who share his informed opinion about the status of football in 2020. Especially as coronavirus cases continue to spike in the state of Texas with the start of the football season seven weeks away.
The state had recorded nearly 230,000 coronavirus cases as of Thursday. Over 50,000 of those cases have been reported since the start of July, meaning that Texas has reported 14 percent of the country’s coronavirus cases in the last nine days.
Without a significant decline in cases, it’s not easy to see how the UIL could figure out a way for games to be played safely in the coming weeks and months. And if high school football in Texas gets moved to the spring, you can bet it’ll get moved in other states, too.
Thursday night, the governor of New Mexico barred contact sports from taking place in 2020. That includes high school football, which could be played in the spring.
(4/x) Update from Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham's COVID-19 briefing:
• HS football and soccer are a no go IN FALL in New Mexico. Volleyball and x-country (non-contact) still possible for now.
• IT IS POSSIBLE football can start later in school year, @GovMLG says pic.twitter.com/SmLyoQZL3z
— Geoff Grammer (@GeoffGrammer) July 9, 2020
If the UIL and other major associations decide to move high school football to the spring, there will be ramifications for college football as well. Teams won’t be able to evaluate prospects like normal in the fall and extend late scholarship offers. It’s not out of the question that the NCAA would have to modify the recruiting calendar if high school football seasons are significantly delayed.
Big Ten going conference-only
Hinojosa’s comments came hours before the Big Ten said it was going with a conference-only schedule in 2020. The conference said in its announcement that the elimination of nonconference games gave it extra flexibility ... if the football season was played at all. In its statement — which applied to all fall sports — the conference made clear that it was not a guarantee that fall sports would be able to take place later in 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Big Ten’s decision came a day after the Ivy League said it wouldn’t play any sports until Jan. 1, 2021. The conference could play football in the spring but said it would make a decision on playing fall sports in the spring at a later date.
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.
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