CHSAA board votes to not move high school football to fall

The push to bring back high school football this fall appears to be over.

The Colorado High School Activities Association Board of Directors voted Tuesday night not to reconsider changes to the revised 2020-21 athletic calendar the moved football and other sports to the spring.

The vote came hours after Gov. Jared Polis expressed a willingness to bring back football this autumn.

“We are focused on getting school started and running smoothly, as well as handling all the issues of running a school district and trying to have that be as normal as possible. We do not want to travel,” Richard Hargrove, CHSAA board member and superintendent of Springfield Schools, said in a news release. “The biggest thing for me in the end is that we have continued to move the goalposts, and every time we turned around, we had something else we had to adjust to.

“The discussion last night amplified that there was another potential goalpost movement. We have already developed a calendar that addresses the concerns of health officials, and gives all students a season and a chance to participate. We need to move forward with that plan.”

The association’s return-to-play plan, divided into four seasons from August through June, was approved Aug. 4. As part of the revised schedule, high-risk sports like football and volleyball were moved to the spring.

That will not change, despite grassroots efforts from around the state to reverse the decision, including a Change.org petition to “Let Them Play” that had more than 13,800 signatures as of Wednesday morning.

The board discussed the athletic calendar Tuesday night, then unanimously voted to maintain the new schedule, even after Gov. Polis declared, “We want to work with (CHSAA).” The governor’s office released a statement Wednesday saying it “respects” CHSAA’s decision.

“Our administration was looking forward to allowing more student-athletes to begin their season this fall, but if the CHSAA board unanimously agrees that they should delay their season until the spring in an effort to ensure that they are better prepared to protect the safety of student-athletes then our administration fully respects that decision,” Polis’ statement read.

“The important thing is that every CHSAA sanctioned athletic team sport will occur this school year giving kids the opportunity to learn important skills by participating in team sports.”

In deciding against reconsidering the 2020-21 athletic calendar, the CHSAA board listed several factors in its release, including student safety and well-being, disparate return-to-school models throughout the state, and potential Title IX issues.

“We understand that our school communities would like to return to all levels of normalcy,” said Troy Baker, the President of CHSAA’s Board of Directors, in the release. “We listened to all parties and the voices of our membership resonated strongly to support the plan as approved in August.

“The plan aligns with the CHSAA mission. All students have an opportunity to play a season during the 2020-21 school year.”

This story will be updated.

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