The vast majority of schools across South Florida won’t play for fall high school sports championships this year, including football.
All public schools across Palm Beach and Broward counties have opted out of the Florida High School Athletic Association’s state series postseason, and “most” Miami-Dade County Public Schools have followed suit, a spokesperson for the district said.
A handful of public schools still plan to participate in the football playoffs: defending Class 6A champion Miami Central, defending Class 5A champion Miami Northwestern, Miami Palmetto, Homestead and Miami Edison.
Those five join a handful of private schools across the county, including defending Class 2A champion Hialeah Champagnat Catholic. In Broward County, defending Class 7A champion Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas and defending Class 3A champion Hollywood Chaminade-Madonna are among the private schools planning to participate in the state series.
The South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported Broward and Palm Beach counties’ plans Monday.
Last year, South Florida schools combined to win seven of eight state football championship. Five of those teams plan to defend their titles this year, with defending Class 8A champion Miami Columbus and defending Class 4A champion Miami Booker T. Washington opting out.
The Explorers are part of the district-affiliated Greater Miami Athletic Conference, even though Columbus is a private school. Dave Dunn said it was a difficult decision.
“Only two regular-season games before the playoffs and a blind draw had me worried we wouldn’t get enough film for our players,” the Explorers coach said in a text message. “We can get up to nine games with opting out. Tough decision, but I thought opting out was best for our players’ futures.”
Some private schools across the Miami metropolitan area have already played two games after opening their seasons Sept. 11. The FHSAA allowed the regular season to begin Sept. 4, but most parts of Florida were unable to begin until at least Sept. 11.
In Miami-Dade County, there’s still no sense of when public schools will be allowed to begin their regular seasons. Schools are currently allowed to condition outside, but no start dates are set yet for practices and the regular season because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. In-person instruction could begin at Miami-Dade schools as soon as Sept. 30.
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